Creating a Chinese garden is not easy or even particularly cheap, but you can always decide to create a small corner set up with oriental objects to be associated with Chinese flowers and plants.
The beauty of these gardens is also given by their uniqueness: each garden is different from the other while maintaining common features such as the presence of rocks, ponds, cloisters. The difference is given by the flowers and plants present, which with their changing, even according to the seasons and the change of light, give always different views.
The work to be done is meticulous but the satisfaction will be enormous: the Chinese tradition associates each flower and plant with a different meaning.
Depending on the flowers that will be planted in the Chinese garden, a different meaning will be given to the whole: the azalea, for example, is the symbol of femininity par excellence and elegance. The orchid is the symbol of perfection, prosperity and inner growth.
Peach blossoms look forward to a long life and abundance and luck in love.
The hydrangea is the plant of gratitude and enlightenment.
The red chrysanthemum represents Yang energy and is a good omen for a good and long life for older people.
Lilies symbolize happiness and unity among people, while Narcissus brings luck to work.
Creating a Chinese garden
It is essential to create a harmonious environment that brings together all the natural elements such as the earth, the sky and the water, adapting to the layout of the available space without any forcing, and finding the right space for each type of plant-based to the needs of light and exposure to wind and weather also based on the territory in which we live.
The essence of the Chinese garden is the harmony of shapes and colours and therefore you will not have to exaggerate with too many chromatic choices, but you will have to give an essential scenographic movement, not too luxurious. In the gardens, there will also be elements like zigzag bridges, tunnels, rocks, paths and curved streets to give the possibility to look at the environment from more perspectives while walking and to give movement and non-linearity.
The element of water will be given by fountains, waterfalls, ponds, non-geometric ponds as if they had been created by nature and positioned towards the south; the flow of water will be slow to give a sense of calm and to promote peace and contemplation.
Ornaments such as stone tables and chairs suitable for the colder seasons and rattan chairs in warm weather can also be arranged, but everything must always be suitable and harmonious with the surrounding environment. The important thing is that the composition as a whole is suggestive, similar to a poem, natural.
Characteristics of Chinese gardens
The Chinese gardens can be seen in two ways: standing buildings or walking.
To be able to observe while standing still, elements such as seats, low walls must be inserted; to observe moving instead there is the need for the path to have a certain length and therefore there must be narrow streets, curves and bridges to cross.
In small Chinese residential gardens, due to lack of space, a small corner will be created where one can observe from a standstill.
Furthermore, there are two types of views: those that can be done by raising one’s head if, for example, one observes the high branches of trees or the flowers and fruit that bloom on them, while in the views that are made by lowering one’s gaze one will pause on of a stone placed on the edge of a pond or looking at a flower that has just bloomed on the turf.
Symbols are a fundamental element for this type of garden and the care and research of architecture and floral composition are almost equivalent to creating a work of art.
A bit of history: the origins of the Chinese garden
The origin of the traditional garden dates back to the Qin and Han dynasties (221 BC – 220 AD), a period in which the gardens were composed not only of flowers and trees, temples and palaces and all around elephants, fallow deer, dogs, horses scurried around and various species also aquatic.
Another Han-era masterpiece is the Jian Zhang Palace, also built by Emperor Wu south of the vast Tai Yi Lake and on whose shores an enormous fish and two stone tortoises were built.
Between the second and the sixth century AD, a need for literary and artistic freedom spread, which consequently also caused the need to change the way gardens were created, also influenced by the change in the meaning that watercolour landscape painting had in those years.
The gardens began to have names that described their naturalistic characteristics: the rocks represented hills and mountains and the streams represented inner peace, the flow of life and spiritual growth.
Later with the Tang dynasty (618-907 AD), the gardens became a symbol of conceptual enrichment, subsequently influencing the architecture of the Japanese gardens and subsequently of the other countries.
The gardens were often designed by painters, poets and actors who gave their art and sensitivity to the search for the embellishment and harmonization of the landscape in respect of nature and without forcing.