The Garden Guide

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

Tree masses in composition

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The Japanese gardener masses his trees at particular points in his design and seldom follows a method of equal distribution. In so doing, he bears in mind the particular value and function of each group,�one to express distance; one to give a shady, solitary impression; one to receive and intercept the glare of the setting sun; one to serve as a partial veil or screen; and one to give reflection and shadow in the water. The chief localities chosen for such trees or groups of trees are:�valleys, river banks, island shores, slopes of hills, cliffs behind cascades, and flat open expanses. Secondary vegetation is placed between rocks and stones, near garden wells and springs, and close to fences, lanterns, or basins. It is a common saying that four-fifths of the trees and shrubs of a garden should consist of evergreens; and indeed, in most Japanese gardens, it will be found that, with the exception of a few flowering trees and certain species of the oak, ash, and maple, valued on account of their blossom-like tints in spring and autumn, comparatively few deciduous trees are used.