The Landscape Guide

Trees and Mountains for Chinese gardens

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The best site one can choose for a garden is among trees in the mountains. Here one finds heights and hollows, crevices and deeps, precipices and overhanging rocks, but also open, level stretches. These offer wonderful scenery in themselves, and do not need to be worked upon with human hands.
One must seek in hidden places and dig deep to reach a source from which water may be conducted. Dig out a grotto at the foot of the mountain, throw up the earth to form a hill and then contrive a covered passage to the latter.
Many kinds of trees grow here right up to the sky. The tall buildings emerge from and disappear among the shifting clouds. A wealth of flowers covers the ground. Pavilions and terraces arise variously from the ponds. Over the deep bed of the stream one throws a rustic bridge, and along the steep one builds a gallery on posts.
Here one may enjoy Nature at liberty, and quietly await the spring. The lovely birds call to their friends and the deer come together to mate. The fragrance from the flowers is often wafted right up to the threshold of the house; before the gate winds a stream. The path leads through the bamboo grove to a shady spot where a solitary hut is situated between tall firs. There one may hear the melancholy sound of water. The cranes begin to dance and to flap their wings. Before the steps leading to the house one sweeps away the clouds oneself, and perhaps one may even dig in the moon on the top of the mountain.
A thousand peaks gleam blue, and ten thousand little streams flow green. Hither one may journey in T’ao Yüanming’s sedan of bamboo; one need not have re course to Hsieh’s sandals.’