The Garden Guide

Book: Landscape Gardening in Japan, 1912
Chapter: Chapter1. History

Daimyo provincial palace gardens

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Many of the old castle-towns of the interior possess fine gardens which adorned the Daimios' provincial palaces, but which are now converted into public parks. Among these may be mentioned the public garden at Kumamoto, and that at Okayama in the province of Bizen, to be afterwards described. The garden of a part of Prince Shimazu's residence at Kagoshima,�well-known from photographs,�is interesting as a characteristic example of the severe and aristocratic style of composition, in which a stately simplicity dominates. A serpentine lake, crossed in one place by a fine slab of hewn granite, supported in the middle on stone trestles, is edged with numerous water-worn boulders, schists, and rocks, between which are planted azaleas and other bushes, water plants, and evergreens, having their foliage cut into spherical shapes. A graceful stone lantern, with umbrella-shaped top, placed in conjunction with a few fine rocks and a trained pine tree, forms a prominent feature on the lake side, just in front of the rooms. The cascade,�an indispensable feature of lake gardens,�is, in this example, divided from the principal sheet of water by a sanded space, and has its own separate basin, which, together with a handsome rockery and mound backed by enormous rounded evergreens and other hills, makes a handsome composition at the side of the dwelling. One or two quaintly trimmed pollards near the verandah, and some fine pines in the extreme background, are the only large trees in the design.