The Garden Guide

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

Named trees for Hill Gardens Tsukiyama

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In enumerating the principal trees marked in the Plate, it must be observed that the singular term tree is often used to imply a group or clump of trees. No. 1 may be called the "Principal Tree," though the Japanese term, Shojin-boku, literally translated, means "Tree of Upright Spirit." In the present example it is represented by a group of trees placed in the central part of the background, behind the cascade. A fine large pine or oak of striking shape should be selected for this position, surrounded by a few other trees of different character of foliage. No. 2, called the "View-perfecting Tree" (Keiyo-boku), is secondary in rank only to No. 1, with which it should contrast in appearance. It occupies a position more in the foreground, and in lake scenery may be placed on an island, as in the present instance. Being generally a solitary tree, and in a very prominent situation, the exact forms of its trunk, branches, and foliage are carefully studied, with a view to harmonise with the adjacent objects, whether a stone lantern, well-frame, or water basin. The view of the principal features of the distance beyond it should not be obliterated, and on this account a rugged pine or some tree of light open foliage is preferred. No. 3, called the "Tree of Solitude" (Sekizen-boku), is a tree, or group of trees, of thick foliage placed on one side, in the background of the garden, the object being to give shade and to impart a solitary wooded aspect to this portion of the grounds. No. 4 is called the "Cascade-screening Tree" (Takigakoi-ki), and consists of a group of low leafy trees or bushes planted at the side of the waterfall in such a way as to conceal portions of it. No. 5 receives the name of "Tree of the Setting Sun" (Sekiyo-boku); it is planted in the background of the garden towards the west, with the purpose of intercepting the glare of the setting sun, which may be partially seen between the foliage. To add to the rich effect of the leafage in the evening glow, it is customary to employ maples or other trees of reddening foliage in this position. Blossoming trees, such as the cherry and plum, are occasionally introduced; and, even when evergreens are employed, maples or some other deciduous trees must be mixed with them. No. 6 is called the "Distancing-pine" (Mikoshi-matsu), the fancy being that it should suggest a far-off forest. It is therefore placed behind the further hills of the garden and partly hidden from view. The branches of this tree should not be too carefully trimmed, such artificial treatment detracting from the impression of distance aimed at. If the garden be a small one, the "Distancing Pine" may be a tree actually outside the boundary. The term pine is used in a general and not an absolute sense, and an oak tree may be substituted if desired. No. 7 goes by the name of the "Stretching Pine" (Nagashi-matsu), or "Monkey-pine" (Enko-matsu); the latter name is taken from the long-armed monkeys often depicted in Japanese art, and both terms refer to the straggling, sprawling character of the branches of this leaning tree, which is generally a single evergreen placed in the foreground, and bending over the lake or stream, from the bed of which it is supported by crutches. A kind of juniper is sometimes used instead of a pine.