The Garden Guide

Book: Landscape Gardening in Japan, 1912
Chapter: Chapter 11. Garden Vegetation

Temple avenues and groves

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In connection with the temples of the country, magnificent avenues and groves are to be seen arranged with the same formality adopted in certain European gardens; and some of the rows of pines and cryptomerias which line the country roads are hardly surpassed in grandeur by anything similar in the West. But in landscape gardening,�and all gardening in Japan comes under this head,� such formal arrangements are seldom if ever resorted to. When trees are grouped together in numbers, they are generally of different species specially selected to contrast with one another; unless, as is sometimes the case, it is the designer's intention to represent a natural forest or woodland. Contrasts of form and line receive primary attention, though contrasts of colour in foliage are also considered, especially in the distribution of shrubs and bushes. Such combinations as that of the twisted and rugged pine tree with the spreading cherry tree or drooping willow, are purposely devised. A rule has been established that, when several trees are planted together in gardens, they should never be placed in rows, but distributed in open and irregular files, so that the majority of the group may be seen from different points of view. Fig. 34 exemplifies how trees may be arranged in groups of two, three, or five. If quite a number are clumped together, they will be disposed in a varied series of double, triple, and quintuple combinations, with wider spaces dividing them. The space left between individual trees varies according to the size and scale of the grounds, from about three to six feet; in a very diminutive garden as little as eighteen inches will suffice. This rule does not, however, apply to trees intentionally planted in pairs, as twins or consorts, which are often arranged quite close together.