Real World Gardener Chinese Gardens in Design Elements part 1

March 23rd, 2014

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network.


The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition. The new theme is sung by Harry Hughes from his album Songs of the Garden. You can hear samples of the album from the website


Chinese Gardens part 1

with Louise Brooks

Chinese Gardens, Darling Harbour, Sydney. photo taken by Louise Brooks

Do you know the difference between Chinese and Japanese gardens?

Are they both similar or completely different?

If you were a Chinese Emperor or member of the Imperial family, you garden would be built not only for beauty and pleasure but to impress.

But what about smaller gardens or gardens for the common people?
Louise talks to landscape architect for Sydney Foreshore Authority, Peter Nowland to find out the important elements in a Chinese garden.

If you lived in the 1600’s  the time when the earliest recorded Chinese gardens were created, you would have to put yourself into the valley of the Yellow River, during the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 B.C).
These gardens were large enclosed parks where the kings and nobles hunted game, or where fruit and vegetables were grown.
Taoists developed the concept of Yin and Yang, and Confucius believed in the family unit. These all were used in the template of the Chinese Garden, developed over 2,000 years.
Southern Chinese gardens are more lush and tropical looking then  gardens in northern China.
There are three main elements in Chinese gardens, rocks water and plants, plus pavilions for family, reading, artwork, music and contemplating. A pavilion, or "ting", is an essential component of a Chinese garden . . . the resting place from which to contemplate nature.
All the features in a Chines garden has been deliberately chosen and placed not only for artistic effect but for its symbolic importance. No garden is without a lake or pool. This body of water, no matter how small, is its spiritual heart.

Pavillion, Chinese Garden, Darling Harbour Sydney. photo Louise Brooks

Rocks,represent mythological stories and are placed in groupings. A bamboo forest is created by judicious pruning to serve as reminders of qualities valued in human beings.

Plants are chosen the symbolize something for tradition and history.
The magnolia tree has traditionally represented wealth.
In China, the azalea (Rhododendron spp.), together with the primrose and the gentian, is considered one of the "three famous flowers

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