A JOURNEY THROUGH NATURE
Stepping through the Moongate we can explore a different vision of nature and of our place in the scheme of things. China, 'The Mother of Gardens' has an unrivalled history of horticultural, philosophical and spiritual ideas for garden making where gardens were created to absorb the essence of wild free nature and reflect it back to the discerning soul in contemplation. With the Oriental perspective, the designer's raw materials of water, rocks, sky and plants
are imbued with new meaning and potential.
PLANTS FROM CHINA
Thanks to the intrepid plant hunters,
an average one third of western garden
plants have come from China. The familiar favourites of wisteria, lilac peonies, chrysanthemums and ginkgos, plus magnolias, camellias, azaleas and water-lilies are joined by continuing new discoveries such as the striking woodland bulb Arisaema sikokianum.
A CHINESE SCROLL UNFOLDS
Leaving a busy street to enter the sanctuary of the Welcome courtyard creates a change of pace in preparation for the main garden experience. The carved marble table and seats provide a place for tea and a chat with friends.
The path then unfolds like a scroll drawing the visitor from the household area with its domestic planting and tiled designs, through a series of settings, each offering a new experience announced by small signs of calligraphy poems, composed to heighten expectations and the senses with phrases like 'The Pavilion of Perfect Sound' and 'Harvest Moon Rising'.
The path continues through the Fragrance courtyard to the Dragon Wall where stepping Through the Moongate takes one into the wilder area. Continuing via a stone bridge and along the stream on stepping stones it leads to the garden pavilion or 'ting' set on a prominence. It then takes the eye onwards to the source of the water in an increasingly wilder rocky wilderness.
CHINESE IDEAS TO MANIPULATE SPACE & CREATE PRIVACY
Along the route we reveal ingenious ways developed by the Chinese to make their garden space seem larger and more intriguing. These include 'borrowed scenery' with boundary windows framing selected distant views, reflected light, mirror images in water, mysterious openings for special ambiguity, hidden destinations and path pebbles in flowing patterns to encourage movement.
Pale walls blend with winter skies to dissolve boundaries. Walls with curved tops reduce the feeling of confinement and add energy and vitality while the window piercings hint at distant views.
YIN & YANG
This concept of interactive complementary opposites is found in the Yang of the tumbling, sparkling, zesty waterfall and in the Yin of the serene reflective pool; in the yang of rough textured rocks and the yin of smooth polished pebbles. Senses are tantalized with wind sculptures and the graceful dancing shadows of slender bamboo on pale walls. And always there is a seat at the perfect viewpoint to absorb each experience.
The main precepts of Chinese garden design come from the ideas of Taoism and its intimate relationship with nature. Tao means "the way" or "the path" referring to the way we lead out lives. Gardening connects with the Tao in two ways. Firstly, in working with the changing forces of nature, the goal of a beautiful garden is a journey of planning, planting and cultivation. Secondly, the garden offers a sanctuary where one can reconnect with the Tao and the inward process of self-discovery.
Arisaema sikokianum - a rare bulb from China, the most spectacular of all the Arisaemas and its first Chelsea appearance. The apex of the pure white spadix is swollen to look like a marshmallow and the spathe back has white stripes on green/purple background. Easy to grow in acid or alkaline soil but must have light shade and requires good drainage. 8"-18" tall.
Available from www.jacquesamand.com
Clematis Kingfisher Evipo037 A dramatic new blue clematis, flowering from
late May until September with strong yet compact growth - ideal climbing or as a specimen plant in a patio container.
Available from www.guernsey-clematis.com
Acer palmatum 'Scolopendrifolium' An elegant cut-leaf tree Acer providing height without causing heavy shade.
From Lees & Co (wholesale only); Ask your garden centre to contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Punica granatum ; Pomegranate Hardy in sunny sheltered sites above 15 degrees F, this exotic
neat round shrub or small tree with scarlet flowers is self pollinating. The juice of its famous fruit
is one of the new 'superfoods' being high in antioxidants. Drought tolerant; avoid wet soils.
The mature tree pictured is available from email@example.com.
Cornus kousa 'Nicole' and 'China Girl' - hardy shrubs with the wow factor these Chinese dogwoods with their long lasting white flower bracts prefer fertile, humus-rich, acid to neutral soil in full sun or partial shade.
Several of the large speciality Bamboo from the show are also available.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.