This section is from the book "Commercial Gardening Vol1", by John Weathers (the Editor). Also available from Amazon: Commercial Gardening, A Practical & Scientific Treatise For Market Gardeners.
Another rule of some importance is to avoid as far as practicable the planting of deciduous trees, with a few exceptions, in the more prominent positions of the garden. The exceptions are deciduous trees remarkable for the beauty of their flowers, such as the Cherries and Plums, which are not only immensely attractive when yielding their wealth of flowers, but are great favourites with the Japanese. If it is intended to plant a tree near the end of a bridge, one should be selected which will spread its branches over it, and cast a shadow on the water. It is not considered in accordance with the canons of garden-making to show the whole of the volume of water tumbling over rocks, and therefore it is enjoined that in selecting a tree for planting alongside a cascade that it will throw its branches partly over the rushing water.
Shade-giving trees are considered the most suitable for planting near seats and tea houses, and Pines are the most generally selected for the purpose. Much the same rule applies to the planting of trees by the side of ponds and other small water areas, the object being to obtain a cool retreat during the summer's heat. The selection of positions for trees in the gardens is considered by the Japanese authorities as a matter of much importance, and they feel, as do those in this country who have had experience in such work, that when trees are planted without the exercise of sufficient judgment the desired effect is lost.
For a long period Pines were the favourite garden trees, and they were trained to form round heads or to some quaint shape to give a distinctive appearance to the spot in which they were placed. Of late years Western ideas would appear to have had some influence upon the Japanese, for within the past decade or so trees more or less natural in growth have come into favour, and the trees with formal heads or contorted branches are no longer fashionable.
The Japanese Maples, of which there are now so many beautiful forms in cultivation, are not always a complete success in British gardens, and this is due in many instances to a failure to plant them in positions most favourable to their full development. The Japanese, having a full knowledge of the elegance that characterizes the habit of these trees when growing under natural conditions, and abundant opportunities for enjoying the glorious colour effects produced by their leaves when the breath of autumn has passed over them, freely use them in the creation of garden scenery. They by no means limit their selection to the kinds that do not take on their rich colouring until the summer months have run their course, but group with freedom the many fine forms of Acer 'palmatum that in the diversity in the form and colour of their leaves afford a rare opportunity for the garden artist to produce colour effects of the most beautiful description, extending from within a short time of the bursting of the buds to the fall of the leaf. These Maples are of much value in gardens, whatever may be their design, and particularly in those of small size; and although the demand for them continues to be great, there is room for an acceleration in the rate at which they are being planted.
The free use of stone in the making of Japanese gardens is a point of much interest, and while it may not be regarded as of so much importance as the trees with which the garden is furnished, sufficient care and attention are bestowed upon its selection to ensure every piece being suited to the position in which it is to be placed. Especially noteworthy, also, are the stone ornaments, of which the lanterns of stone are the most important. These lanterns may be of granite, sandstone, or limestone, and they take us far back into the distant past. For many centuries they were exclusively associated with the temples that have a prominent place in many parts of the country; but in the course of the development of the landscape art some of the leading exponents conceived the idea of using them in the adornment of the garden, and within a comparatively short period their use became general.
Stone lanterns are no longer confined to Japan, for larger numbers are annually imported, and many are the British gardens wherein several may be found. These lanterns differ considerably in design, and there is no difficulty in selecting one that is well suited to the position it is to occupy, whether it be by the waterside, alongside the bridge of stone, or for forming a contrast to the brilliant colouring of the Azaleas or Irises, or the feathery growths of Bamboos and tall-growing grasses. It is one of the canons of the landscapist's art that these lanterns should be partly sheltered by trees, either at the back or front.
In the water scenery that usually has a place in Japanese gardens stepping stones are freely used, and form walks that wind through the water garden and afford an opportunity for closely inspecting the Water Lilies, the Lotus, the Irises, and the many other beautiful plants that thrive in or near water. In some of the more extensive gardens bridges of stone are provided for crossing the deeper waters, but the quaint semicircular bridges of wood which are now so well known are the most general. The tea house is an essential feature of the Japanese garden, and it may be mentioned that it is usually so constructed of Bamboos or light strips of wood as to allow the air to circulate freely through it, and it is assigned a position on the bank of a lake or pond, on a prominent island, or in some other part of the garden where scenes more or less beautiful can be readily seen.
An essential feature of the Japanese garden is its bamboo framework clothed with the Wistaria, which in its season gives a wealth of the long pendent racemes of blue or white flowers; and even if the Wistarias fall short of the magnificent specimens at Kameido, a suburb of the city of Tokio, they afford displays of wondrous beauty. What has been accomplished in Japan in the cultivation of Wistarias may be done in Japanese or indeed any other gardens in this country. Not less noteworthy for their value in beautifying the gardens of Japan are the double-flowered Cherries, such as Prunus pseudo-cerusus fl.pl., which are planted freely, and annually produce delightful displays. All the best forms that are grown in Japan are in trade collections in this country, and it is much to be desired that with the increased attention that is now given to Japanese gardens they may "be planted by the dozen, instead of singly as is now usually the case. [g. g.]