This is the second part of our trip around the world to visit the most spectacular landscaped gardens around the world, in part one we had the good fortune to visit Nong Nooch in Thailand and Butchart Gardens in Canada among others. In this blog we travel to China, Japan and Pakistan to see quite different but beautiful gardens that are a credit to the gardeners and designers who constructed and maintain them.
Yuyuan Garden – China
A taste of mystic Asia takes us to China and the stunning Yuyuan Garden, which is one of the most spectacular gardens in the whole of Asia. This rather special garden is thought to be over four hundred years old, built sometime in the Ming Dynasty. It is a testament to formal Chinese gardens incorporating pagodas, ornamental bridges, ponds, a plethora of doorways a dragon-lined walls and of course secluded areas. Yuyuan has been restored and updated many times over the years, and has seen great change through civil wars and neglect. But in 1956 after the liberation of Shanghai the Chinese government stepped in and restored back all its elegance and beauty.
Shalimar Garden – Pakistan
Built by the Mughal emperors, Shalimar stands out in Lahore as a testament and legacy of regal times long gone. It was first designed and constructed in the mid 1600’s by a nobleman of the court of Shah Jahan. The garden is in the form of a large oblong, which is encased in tall red brick walls which bring a sense of serenity to Shalimar. The brick is interwoven with delicate fretwork to complement the clever garden design and add an eastern element to the whole affair. It is now a world heritage site and a respected part of the world’s most esteemed landscaped garden family.
The Ryoan-ji Temple garden is the epitome of what a formal Japanese garden should be. The temple in Kyoto is world famous for its beautiful and tranquil Zen garden, and is renowned for being one of the best examples of a dry landscape type design. There are some Zen experts that say that this garden is the quintessence of Zen art, and is one of Japan’s greatest artistic statements. Encased in small walls, a small formation of fifteen plain rocks lay on pristine white gravel to signify a profound part of Zen culture.
The garden is the same today as when it was first constructed, and will remain the same in one hundred years and another hundred years after that. There is an inscription on an ancient stone washbasin that sort of encapsulates the thought behind this most revered Zen garden, I learn only to be contented. The peace and soulfulness that the garden instills is profoundly deafening and definitely thought provoking, such is its unique beauty and tranquility. Unlike other great landscaped gardens around the world the Zen garden is well worth visiting during the winter snows, then the pure white snow embellishes the overall feeling of the garden.
Leaving Japan far behind the Zen garden concludes our world tour to discover the great landscaped gardens of our planet. Each garden has something unique to bring to the party and displays the diversity in landscaped gardens and how they can differ so greatly.