Getting lost in the Lingering garden

If you don’t know where to go on a vacation I always recommend UNESCO World Heritage sites. These sites are internationally protected zones that represent the ingenuity  and creativity of human creation or the outstanding biological miracles of nature. The Lingering garden in Suzhou is no exception.

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The main lake in the middle of the compound.

The Lingering garden was the private home and garden for Xu Taishi, a rich government official in the 16th century. An elaborate maze of black and white rooms with sudden gardens popping up everywhere, the Lingering garden is almost 6 acres. There used to be hundreds of gardens like this in the Suzhou province (about 2 hours from Shanghai), but most were destroyed during the Japanese invasion and the Cultural revolution. My tour guide warned us to stay close because it’s very easy to get lost, but I got distracted by the bonsai trees and fell behind.

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They are so intricate and unique

I’ve never understood the mystique behind bonsai trees until Suzhou. They really allow you to take in all the amazing, beautiful details of a tree that you would normally overlook because of their scale. Any tree can become a bonsai tree; it’s not a breed of tree but a process of binding. The process requires keeping a sapling in a small pot, wrapping wires around the branches so they don’t grow too tall, and trimming the leaves.

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The crazy root structure – the actually plant part of the trees is that little bit of green on the top left.

Bonsai is actually a Japanese artform, but it comes from the Chinese art called Penjing. Since most people aren’t familiar with penjing, I’ll keep using the term bonsai.

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I fell in love with all the variety

There were hundred of these trees! I’m only sharing just a few. I loved the ones that mimic  famous landscapes in China:

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Made to look like the mountains in the west. This is only a foot wide.

When I finally looked up from my camera I noticed that the group was gone. Mike went for  some coffee so there was no chance of finding him either. While I tried to find my ride home I stumbled on some beautiful scenes.

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A quiet moment of solitude

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So many colors!

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After I crossed this bridge three times I accepted that I was lost.

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I know what I want my future garden to look like 🙂

Eventually I found my group and all was well. I’m glad I got some quiet moments in the garden. It’s truly a special place. One of the reasons why it is so peaceful is that they have signs everywhere begging tourists to be polite. There were some questionable English translations but they got their message across.

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I’ll leave you with this image of their beautiful trash cans:

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Porcelain garbage bins!

6 comments

    1. Thanks. Actually I’m already back and recapping my trip. I couldn’t post anything while I was there because wordpress is blocked in China 😦

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  1. So glad you got to experience bonsai in such a lovely setting. I stumble across them here all the time, naturally, and it’s always a treat. If you have to get lost somewhere, I can’t think of a better place. Lucky you went in the fall.

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    1. I know! It’s pretty ridiculous. There were lots of sites blocked like Google, facebook, twitter and the Wikipedia article on the tianenmen sq. massacre. They make their own version of facebook and twitter.

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