The Landscape Guide

Country Village gardens in China

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In former times it was said that those who take a pleasure in tilled ground and gardens take up their abode in the midst of the cultivated fields. Those who nowadays desire to live sequestered lives choose the site of their dwelling in a country village. Here bloom chrysanthemum-like balls along the fence, and mulberry trees and hemp grow here and there. One digs down to water and leads it into a channel. One throws up earth to form a bank, and along this one plants willows. The tilled fields come right up to the gate, and weeds grow up beside the veranda.
If the garden covers ten mou, then three mou may be excavated to form a pond, whose irregular shape will captivate the beholder and whose inflow should be cleared of weeds. Of the remaining seven mou, four may be made into a little eminence, upon which one plants bamboo.
The wide hall opens upon a green-clad landscape. The courtyard gate is concealed by plant life, so that it looks as if it were closed. The stones should be so piled that one cannot see that the ‘mountains’ are artificial. When one comes to the bridge one might imagine oneself confronted with a real river-crossing. Peach and plum trees grow along the paths. The tall buildings and terraces stand out as in a painting. The surrounding fence is wattled with jujube branches, but there is an opening in it through which the watchdog can jump out to welcome guests. A winding path runs beside the fence. A boy sweeps away the dry leaves, so that the moss emerges. The autumn is far advanced, but the honeycombs have not yet been cut from the hives. It is harvest-tide, it is time to set up shelters barns? for the cranes. He who enjoys his ease, however, need not worry about rice and seed; but if it is a matter of going to fetch wine one must not allow oneself to be hindered by storm and snow. Those who return to Nature are well rewarded. The old gardener gets more than he needs.