The flowers and gardens of Japan
List of Illustrations
(etext transcriber's note)
BY THE SAME ARTIST
THE ITALIAN LAKES
Painted by Ella Du Cane
Described by Richard Bagot
Square demy 8vo, bound in clothgilt top
Price 20s. net
(By Post, 20s. 6d.)
Containing 69 full-page Illustrationsin Colour
“Such pictures interpret the romanticappeal of the scenery in a manner whichis next to impossible to any mere pen otherthan that of Ruskin. But the book, wemake haste to add, is fascinating all theway through, for Mr. Bagot has quickeyes for the picturesque, and writes withadmirable restraint in the romantic mood.”—Standard.
“Mr. Bagot’s descriptions will give thereader who has never seen this lovely partof Europe a just and vivid idea of itsbeauties, while Miss Du Cane’s work doesthe same for him by means of another anda beautiful medium. Her pictures arecharming, and the reproduction wouldseem to be perfect.”—The World.
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THE FLOWERS AND GARDENS
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GARDENS OF JAPAN
ELLA DU CANE
FLORENCE DU CANE
An apology is due to the reader for adding this volume to the longlist of books already written on Japan; but, being a lover of flowersmyself, I found there was no book giving a short account of the floraof the country which is so often called the Land of Flowers. Hence myexcuse for offering these pages, either to those who may be intendingto visit, or to those who may wish to recall the memories of a sojournin the Land of the Rising Sun.
The book does not pretend to furnish a complete list of all the flowersto be found in the country, but rather to give a description of thosewhich are most remarkable for their beauty and profusion, and which aremost closely associated with Japan. The pages on landscape gardeninghave been condensed, partly owing to want of space, and also becauseI felt that those who take a real and thorough interest in the subjecthave Mr. Conder’s admirable volumes on “Landscape Gardening in Japan”to help them in the study of the most complicated form of gardening inthe world. Being debarred, through lack of sufficient knowledge of thelanguage, from availing myself of original works in Japanese, I havedrawn much information from Mr. Conder’s works, and from those of otherforeigners; but I wish gratefully to acknowledge the help I receivedfrom Mr. Y. Noguchi, who provided me with the flower legends and fairytales, which are household words in every Japanese home.
FLORENCE DU CANE.
FLOWERS & GARDENS OF JAPAN
It is safe to assert that no other country has such a distinctive formof landscape gardening as Japan. In English, French, Italian, and Dutchgardens, however original in their way, there are certain things theyseem all to possess in common: terraces, which originally belongedto Italian gardens, were soon introduced into France; clipped trees,which were a distinctive feature of Dutch gardens, were copied by theEnglish; the fashion of decorating gardens with flights of stone steps,balustrades, fountains, and statues at one time spread from Italythroughout Europe; and possibly the over-decoration of gardens led toa change in taste in England and a return to a more natural style. Thegardens of China and Japan have remained unique; the Eastern style ofgardening has never spread to any other country, nor is it ever likelyto; for, just as no Western artist will ever paint in the same manneras an Oriental artist because his whole artistic sense is different, sono Western gardener could ever hope to construct a garden representinga portion of the natural scenery of Japan—which is the aim and objectof every good Japanese landscape garden, however small—because,however long he might study the original scene, he would never arriveat the Japanese conception of it, or realise what it conveyed to themind of a Japanese. Their art of gardening was originally borrowed fromthe Chinese, who appear to have been the first to construct miniaturemountains, and to bring water from a distance to feed miniaturewater-falls and mountain torrents. They even went so far as, in oneenclosure, to represent separate scenes for different seasons of theyear, and different hours of the day, but to the Japanese belongs thehonour of having perfected the art of landscape gardening.
It is not my intention to weary the reader with technical informationon the subject, which he will find admirably explained in Mr. Conder’svolume on Landscape Gardening in Japan, but an outline of some of thetheories and rules which guide the Japanese gardener will help us toappreciate his work and give an additional interest to the hours spentin these refreshing retreats from the outer world.
The designer of a good landscape garden has to be guided by manythings. A scene must be chosen suited to the size of the ground andthe house, and its natural surroundings; and the Japanese garden beingabove all a spot for secluded leisure and meditation, the temperament,sentiment, and even the occupation of the owner are brought intoconsideration. Their conception of the expression of nature is governedin its execution by endless æsthetic rules; considerations of scale,proportion, unity, and balance, in fact all that tends to artisticharmony, must be considered, so as to preserve the perfect balance ofthe picture, and any neglect would destroy that feeling of repose whichis so essential in the landscape garden. When we realise that the arthas occupied the minds of poets, sages, and philosophers, it is notto be wondered at that something more than the simple representationof natural views has entered into the spirit of their schemes, whichattain to poetical conceptions; and a garden may be designed to suggestdefinite ideas and associations, in fact the whole art is enshroudedby quaint æsthetic principles, and it is difficult for the Western mindto unravel the endless laws and theories by which it is governed.
In gardens which cover a larger area the scheme must necessarily bevery different from that required for the making of a tiny garden,only some few yards square, but the materials used will be the same;only the stone bridges and garden ornaments will all be in proportionto the size of the garden, for the rule of proportion is perhaps themost important of all. I visited a garden which was being enlargedby the addition of a hill and the suggestion of mountain forests, togive the impression of unknown limits. The owner explained that as hehad enlarged his house it was therefore necessary at the same time toenlarge his garden. A landscape garden may be of any size, from theminiature scenes, representing pigmy groves, and mossy precipices, withlilliputian torrents of white sand, compressed into the area of a chinadish, to the vast gardens with their broad sheets of water and majestictrees which surrounded the Daimyo castles of old or the Imperialpalaces of to-day; but the sense of true proportion must be rigidlyadhered to. Large rocks and boulders are out of
place in a small garden, and small stones in a large garden would beequally unsuitable. The teachers of the craft have been most careful topreserve the purity of style. Over-decoration is condemned