The Garden Guide

Book: Landscape Gardening in Japan, 1912
Chapter: Chapter 7. Garden Wells

Ornamental wells and kitchen wells

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THE Well is an indispensable ornament of many gardens; very often it is purely ornamental, another being provided for use in the court or kitchen yard. The Well frequently assists to express the mood of the garden, and some designers have used it to imply a sentiment, not unlike the familiar scriptural analogy of Eternal Life. The presence or suggestion of water, in some shape or other, is an absolute necessity in Japanese gardens. As an ornament the Well consists of the well-hole border or frame, the pulley with its supporting post and cross-bar, a little roof to protect the pulley and cord from rain, the rope, and the buckets. Its necessary accessories are the drain, stepping stones, and other ornamental rocks; also a stone lantern, and certain suitable trees and shrubs to form a group with it. Sometimes instead of the pulley, rope, and double bucket arrangement, a single bucket is suspended from a thin bamboo rod, hinged to a long pole fixed in the socket of a short post of wood or stone, and acting as a lever. The other extremity of the lever is weighted with a heavy stone, so that with the addition of slight pressure it will raise the filled bucket from the well; when at rest the bucket is suspended in the air. Other kinds of Wells are those which have no suspended bucket, but are served by one attached to a long bamboo rod and used independently. Another example is that in which the pulley is suspended to an overleaning tree instead of a well-frame.