The Charm of Southern Chinese Gardens

Chinese gardens can be divided into two categories, the imperial and the private. The former are seen more frequently in northern China, while more of the latter can be found in the south, especially in Suzhou, Wuxi and Nanjing.

Small and delicate, cleverly laid out and pleasing to the eye, the streams, bridges, rockeries and pavilions of a private Chinese garden reveal a natural beauty all their own. Most of the bridges in these gardens are of stone, including straight, winding and arched bridges. The straight bridge consists of just one stone slab without any decoration, and is usually level with the riverbank or with the river to make the visitor feel as if they are surrounded by water.

Humble Administrtor's Gardn (Suzhou)

The winding bridge has low balustrades. The Jiuqu Bridge on West Lake is one of them. The arch bridges can be divided into the single-arch and multi-arch variety.

Streams in these gardens do not cover a large area, but fit in well with bridges and islets to form a premeditated design.

Stones and artificial hills are special features of southern Chinese gardens. The stones are slim with undulated lines, linked caves and water holes. Some large stones form sceneries of their own, while smaller ones are put together to form artificial hills to add to the attractiveness of the garden.

 Master of the Nets Garden (Suzhou)

The corridor is a basic building block of Chinese architecture and gardens. Water corridors are built at a riverside and mountain corridors along ascending steps. Corridors inserted among flower gardens are called flower corridors, rows of willows, willow corridors and rows of bamboo, bamboo corridors. For travelers, these corridors are good travel guides leading to fantastic views of the garden, as well as a nice place to rest.

Windows of various shapes – square, round, hexagonal and octagonal – dot the corridors and are decorated with beautiful patterns and designs. Some windows are covered with designs. Tourists can have an excellent view of the garden through these colorful corridor windows.

Yu Garden (Shanghai)

The doors to the gardens, like the windows, are also carved in many different shapes, to bring more vividness and elegance to the grey tiles and brown windows. Strolling about these gardens, with the shadows cast by the trees swaying on the white wall, and their reflections in the pond, tourists may find true, if fleeting, peace of mind.

Some famous gardens in Southern China:

Suzhou: Humble Administrator's Garden, Master of the Nets Garden, Lingering Garden, Lion Grove, Lotus Garden, Garden of Pleasance, Garden for Ease of Mind, Garden of Retreat and Reflection, Tiger Hill

Wuxi: Li Garden, Plum Garden, Jichang Garden, Xihui Park

Nanjing: Xu Garden, Zhan Garden

Yangzhou: Ge Garden, He Garden

Shanghai: Yu Garden

Changzhou: Yue Garden, Wei Garden

Shaoxing: Sheng Garden

Dongguan: Ke Garden

Foshan: Liang Garden

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