Chinese Landscaping (中国园林) is well known for its use of decorative design elements and the use of the concept of the “ideal miniature” as a landscape design tool.

The Chinese garden culture has more than three thousand years old design tradition. It is a unique phenomenon in landscape architecture and human cultural history. It is the oldest continuous garden and landscape concept in the world, dating back to the Shang dynasty in the 2nd century B.C when the transformation of natural landscape arrived at the phase where gardens for pleasure, recreation, happiness, and laugher could appear.

豫园 Yù Yuán /yoo ywen/ 'Happiness Garden'

Yu Yuan (豫园) Gardens or Happiness Gardens , Shanghai, China. These gardens are thought to be more than 400 years old and may date back to the Ming Dynasty.

The Yu Yuan Garden (豫园) is compromised  of six different scenic areas. These are the Inner Garden, Sansui Hall, Wanhua Chamber, Dianchun Hall, Huijing Hall, and the Yuhua Hall. These gardens are a great example of the Chinese landscape design concept of the idealised miniature,

Amongst the many highlights of the garden are; exquisite sculptures, classical Chinese architecture and beautiful chinese carvings.

The Chinese garden converted and improved natural landscapes with deep symbolism. The level of garden spaces is strictly bound, giving substantial importance to hills, rocks, and water.

Suzhou chinese garden

The Suzhou Chinese garden. According to UNESCO, “The classical gardens of Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China date back to the 6th century BCE when the city was founded as the capital of the Wu Kingdom” The Chinese garden design seeks to recreate natural landscapes as an idealised miniature and the Suzhou gardens are a great example of this.

The Chinese garden emulates a deep understanding of nature and its procedures. They are composed of a series of landscape portraits, a picture from individual points from window frames along corridors of a set of buildings. Chinese landscape is an idealised miniature, which is meant to express the harmony between man and nature.

 

The planting design of traditional Chinese gardens does not apply to a wide variety of ornamental plants. Not so much in the variability, but the decorative appearance and the deep symbolical meaning are forefront in Chinese planting design. Trees with the irregular arrangement, meadow or pasture, but huge water surfaces instead, always with lotus plant cover representing purity and admired in the Buddhist philosophy.

A typical Chinese landscape is enclosed by walls and includes:

  • One or more ponds.
  • Rock works.
  • Trees and flowers.
  • An assortment of halls with the garden provides a carefully composed scene to the visitors.
Landscaping with rocks, paths and gravel.

Landscaping with rocks, paths and gravel.

 

FENG SHUI 風水

Feng Shui is a system of the earliest Chinese practises that aim to increase the happiness and comfort of the human inside a home, an office, or a garden. It stimulates the good flow of energy in that space. Chi is a term used in Feng shui to refer to the universal energy present in and around us. Feng shui aims to direct the flow of Chi within our space to contribute to a good flow of Chi inside ourselves as well. Because due to this energy, humans connect to the area.

Feng shui means knowing how to choose the right colours and decorative elements and use them in the specific areas of your home to bring about nourishing energy to your space and the different areas of your life. Feng shui is not an imposition of strict rules because no strictness breeds a healthy flow of energy. There are five elements of feng shui: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. These five elements’ correct position and placement in our space can stimulate Chi and promote our wellbeing.

Feng shui 5 elements

The five elements of feng shui: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. These five elements’ correct position and placement in our space can stimulate Chi and promote our wellbeing.

 

The wood element withstands vitality, health, and growth. Wood is also an element of abundance. The use of wood encourages wealth and prosperity. It is expressed in green and brown colours. Decorative elements that add wood to your space are lush and healthy plants, green pillows, and vegetation. The element fire brings energy from the sun and with it a sense of joy and creativity. It is also an element of love, romance, and passion. To add this element to your space, use candles of different colours, fire images, yellow lampshades, etc. The element earth stand for nourishment, protection, stability, and support. It provides us with an inner sense of ground and space. It is a crucial element to add to our hectic and stressful modern lives. This element is expressed in beige, sandy, and taupe colours. The fourth element of Feng shui is metal. It brings discipline, structure, productivity, and efficiency. Metal eliminates distraction and helps in creating a sense of clarity, calm, and lightness. Its colours are white and grey. Use the metal to balance out overly warm and sensible places, but don’t overuse it. The fifth and final element of Feng shui is water, one of the most important and influential elements. Water brings the refreshing energy of ease and harmony. Water provides us a sense of renewal and flow. It is also a symbol of abundance and is always used in Feng shui to cultivate wealth. 

Advantages of Feng Shui 風水 in Chinese Landscaping

Feng Shui plays a crucial role in enhancing wealth. Many businessmen used it to attract clients. Proper Feng shui can greatly improve your health. It is used mainly for sickened and older people and is trusted to have potential health benefits. Feng shui principles boost mental health. By adding flowering and decorative plants, your mental health will be improved. The accidents and unwanted events can be reduced by Feng shui.

INFLUENCE OF CHINESE ART AND ARCHITECTURE

The natural garden style proved to be the symbol of liberal philosophy and the enlightened way of thinking. The modern landscape garden, which can be seen as an idealised view of nature, is inspired by classical landscape painting and the classic Chinese gardens, which European travellers have described. The interest in Chinese culture, architecture, and garden design spread around the British island and inspired talented gardeners and designers. The gardens created in the chamber made a new section in the picturesque landscaped gardens. In these so-called anglo-chinoiserie gardens, eastern, mainly Chinese architectural motivates garden elements have been used in most cases without integrating the Chinese nature philosophy. These first, more or less formal effects of Chinese garden design on modern landscape architecture were written by garden designers and horticulturists during the gardens period, where great variety in plant design was taken into the focus of landscape architecture.

The uniqueness and exoticism of Chinese art and architecture in Europe were managed in 1738 when the first Chinese house was constructed in the English garden (Stowe House Garden).

Chinese house was constructed in the English garden (Stowe House Garden)

Chinoiserie garden pavilion called the Chinese House. Thought to be the work of architect William Kent (c. 1685-1748), commissioned by Sir Richard Temple, Viscount Cobham (1675-1748), by 1738. Enclosed wooden rectangular structure, painted with chinoiserie designs, with latticework windows and with a gabled roof with lead covering and two gilded fish finials.Due to William Chamber, who lived in China from 1745-1747, the style became more popular . He built a Great Chinese pagoda (A Chinese house) in London (Kew Garden). After that, Chinese pagodas began to appear in other English gardens. Subsequently, the term Anglo-Chinese garden for this style of landscaping.

chinese pagoda Kew Gardens

The Chinese Pagoda Kew Gardens.

In the 19th century, the gardening interests of the west had turned towards the display of rare and exotic plants. Plant collectors discovered a paradise in China. Garden borders and woods started to blossom soon with species of azalea and rhododendron, which are found in the wild foothills of the Himalayas.

HISTORY OF CHINESE IN MELBOURNE AND VICTORIA         

From 1970, the Chinese traders were visiting the north coast of Australia. After the British settlement (1788), many Chinese people came as workers, prisoners, and fee settlers. After that, the Chinese arrival to Australia was not significant until the Victorian (the 1850s) and New South Wales gold rushes. From the Victorian gold rush, the number of Chinese people in Australia reached 50,000.

Melbourne’s Chinatown has a long and memorable history starting from the Victorian gold rush in 1850-51 when the Chinese immigrants came to Australia for the gold rush in search of gold. In late 1854, the first Chinese lodging houses were created in Little Bourke Street and Celestial Avenue. This specific place was considered suitable for the settlers, as it was a staging post for new Chinese colonists and supplies en route to the goldfield. It is known to be the oldest Chinatown in Australia. The goldfield ultimately diminished, which caused a shift from rural living and the arrival of people migrating into metropolitan Melbourne.

chinatown melbourne

Dating back to the gold rush era, Chinatown in Melbourne is the longest continuous Chinese settlement in the western world.

After the fading of the gold rush, when the mining of gold became far less profitable, market gardening became the subsequent most common Chinese occupation, especially in Victoria. Up until the 1900s, almost one-third of the Chinese population in Victoria was involved in market gardening. Even during the goldfield era, the Chinese grew their vegetables, in many cases earning more money than mining in the goldfield. In Melbourne, there were market gardens along Merri Creek and in Suburbs such as Brighton and Caulfield. Chinese used handmade tools for work gardening work.

FIVE (5) BEST CHINESE PLANTS

China is known as the “mother of gardens.” Being marginally larger in mass than the United States, the number of native species of higher pants of China is close to 30,000, of which 7000 are trees around one-eighth of the world’s total. The majority of the garden around the globe possibly comprise at least one plant originating in China, more likely many. Following are the five best Chinese plants.

1)   DOVE TREE (Davidia involucrate)

The dove tree, also known as the handkerchief tree, belongs to the family Cornaceae. The dove tree is native to Chine but can also cultivate in other parts of the world. This tree has come to be a famous decorative tree in gardens in Australia. This plant is temperately fast-growing. The height of this plant ranges from 15-20 metres.

Davidia involucrate handkerchief tree DOVE TREE

Flowers of a dove tree or handkerchief tree, Davidia involucrata .

The leaves of the dove tree are small and heart-shaped. Its flower cannot be seen easily and has two attractive and big white bracts suspended from the stem-like handkerchief. Ta’s why this plant is also known as the handkerchief plant. The flower is located between these bracts. This plant requires a temperate and cold climate. Dove plants grow well in full sun or semi-shade. This plant requires Well-drained and rich soil.

2)   CHINESE PISTACHIO (Pistacia chinensis)

The Chinese pistachio is a lovely small and medium deciduous tree used as an ornamental shade tree. This tree is drought tolerant and has a neat hemispherical appearance. Chinese pistachio grows well in full sun to partial shade on moderately fertile, well-drained soils. This plant provides good Autumn colour, with leaves turning beautiful shades of orange and red.

Chinese Pistachio

The Chinese pistachio This plant provides great Autumn colour for your Melbourne garden, with leaves turning beautiful shades of orange and red

The Chinese pistachio produces panicles of greenish flowers in April and May. The female tree of the Chinese pistachio attracts birds by bearing small white flowers.

Chinese Pistachio (Pistacia chinensis)

Chinese Pistachio (Pistacia chinensis) is drought tolerant and has a neat hemispherical appearance. Chinese pistachio grows well in full sun to partial shade on moderately fertile, well-drained soils.It also produces small round orange to red drupes that ripens in October. The bark of growing Chinese pistachio is grayish brown and, if peeled from the tree, reveals a shocking salmon pink interior.

3)   Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)

Ginkgo, also known as maidenhair tree, is a deciduous tree native to China. Since ancient times, this plant has been planted in Chinese and Japanese temple gardens and is now valued in several parts of the world like a fungus and insect-resistant ornamental plant. This plant can tolerate cold weather and also can survive in adverse atmospheric conditions of urban areas.

gingko tree, maidenhair tree

Ginkgo biloba tree in yellow , golden leaves of Ginkgo Biloba autumn colours (gingko tree, maidenhair tree)

The ginkgo tree is pyramidal in shape with a sparingly branched trunk up to 30 metres tall. Ginkgo has been used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Ginkgo, also known as maidenhair tree, is a deciduous tree native to China

A young Ginkgo Tree, also known as maidenhair tree, is a deciduous tree native to China.

At the end of the 20th century, the extract of ginkgo was used for its supposed memory-enhancing property. Many varieties are also available for landscape use, including columnar types and others favoured for better growth habits, fall colour, and other desired qualities.

4)   BAMBOOS

Bamboos are a woody perennial plant that belongs to the true grass family Poaceae. The plant size is different from species to species, from giant timber to small annuals. Bamboo species are mainly divided into two main types such as runners and clumpers. Running produce shots several metres away from parent plant whereas clumpers trees grow into a slowly expanding tuft. Planting bamboo in the ground requires minimal preparation of soil. Just dig the soil and plant the clunking varieties.  Bamboo grows best in well-drained soil. Bamboo is a versatile plant but choosing a suitable variety is essential when growing it in a garden.

5)   CHRYSANTHEMUM (Chrysanthemum indicum)

Chrysanthemum is a member of the Compositae family and is available in a wide range of brilliant colours, shapes, and sizes. Chrysanthemum is first cultivated in China as a flowering herb back in the 15th century B.C. The chrysanthemum flower ranges from dazzling whites to dep bronzes, and the plants are highlighted with full dark green leaves.

Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums have been bred to produce flowers in a range of beautiful colours.

Chrysanthemums prefer full sun therefore, keep them away from shady trees and large bushes. It requires well-drained and evenly moist soil. This plant does not like standing water and will quickly rot if lifted too wet. This plant is a heavy feeder and should be fertilised monthly. Sprinkle a balanced fertiliser at the rate of 10:10:10 around the plant. Maintain good air circulation around the plant. Stop fertilising when the flower bud emerges.

 

 

 

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© Red’s landscaping Melbourne

 

Further Information on Chinese Landscaping

Qidi Design Group creates tranquil landscaped garden for property development in Danyang

 

https://www.architectureanddesign.com.au/news/landscape-informs-roof-design-of-arts-centre

 

Yu Yuan Gardens Shanghai