The Garden Guide

Book: Landscape Gardening in Japan, 1912
Chapter: Chapter 12. Garden Composition

Elaborate Flat Garden style Hira niwa

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The elaborate or finished style of Flat Garden is illustrated in Plate XXVIII., in which it will be observed that the greater part of the area consists of level beaten earth. Stone 1, the "Guardian Stone," occupies the central position of the background and together with Stone 2, the "Cliff Stone," and other nameless rocks of contrasting forms, make a group intended to suggest the mouth of a cascade. Though the garden is a dry one, the idea of the presence of water is kept up by an arrangement of piles forming a basin border, within which large white pebbles are placed, backed by Stones 3 and 4, which are intended to give a suggestion of Hills 2 and 5 of the Hill Garden style. It will therefore appear that, even in the type of gardening which permits of neither hills nor water, so essentially are these features considered a part of every landscape, that their existence is always suggested. Stone 4, in addition to the hill contour which it expresses, takes also the place of the "Cave Stone" of former arrangements. Stone 5 is the "Worshipping Stone," occupying an important position in the centre of the area of flat beaten earth. No. 7 is called the "Island Stone" because, regarding the central expanse of earth as a lake, it suggests the principal island or peninsula of the garden. The curious similarity in arrangement will be easily detected on careful comparison with Plate XXV. No. 6 is the "Perfect View Stone," placed near the well on the east, with shrubs and other companion stones. Stone 8 is the most prominent of a group of rocks arranged with intermediate bushes in the background, on the west; it is called the "Moon Shadow Stone," corresponding to that of the same name in the Hill Garden, in so far that it is kept in the distance and partly hidden. No. 9 is a group of stones combined with a bush or bushes of red-leaved foliage, placed in the west of the garden, and called the "Stone of the Evening Sun;" and behind it stands the only large tree shown in this garden, which receives the name of the "Tree of the Evening Sun." It should be a deciduous tree of reddening leaf. Tree 1, which from its position is called the "Principal Tree," and sometimes the "Cascade-screening Tree," is here merely a leafy evergreen placed between Sones 1 and 2. The "Tree of Solitude" is represented on the east by two small pine trees and other shrubs, forming a shady group, together with rocks, plants, and a stone lantern, marked D. Low rounded bushes and large-leaved plants are distributed between the other stones of the garden, the water plants being introduced near the well-drain, or the piled basin of the background, wherever the idea of water is called for. Another evergreen leans over the well, and a bent pine is trained behind a screen fence in the west foreground. This fence forms a group with the water basin A, and a stone lantern B, all adjoining the verandah of the house. The well border C becomes an important feature in the Flat Garden; in the present instance it is a rustic wooden frame, situated in the east foreground, with a pebbled draining-bed and stepping stones. In front is placed Stone 10, a rough boulder in several steps, called the "Stone of the Two Gods." No. 11, the "Pedestal Stone," and No. 12, the "Label Stone," are introduced among the stepping stones of the foreground. It must be observed, however, that in this example the idea of an open expanse is kept in the centre of the grounds, suggesting the lake of Hill Gardens, and the stepping stones are therefore grouped only near the well and water basin, and in the extreme foreground. (Stone 1. Guardian Stone. Stone 2. Cliff Stone. Stone 3. Hill Stone. Stone 4. Peak Stone. Stone 5, Worshipping Stone. Stone 6. Perfect View Stone. Stone 7. Island Stone. Stone 8. Moon Shadow Stone. Stone 9. Evening Sun Stone. Stone 10. Two Gods Stone. Stone 11. Pedestal stone. Stone 12. Labe! Stone. Tree 1. Principal (Central) Tree. Tree 2. Tree of the Evening Sun. Tree 3. Tree of Solitude. A. Water Basin. B. Stone Lantern. C. Well Frame. D. Distant Lantern. E. Well Drain.)