(Humble Administrator's Garden)
is the largest of all classical gardens in Suzhou.
It is centered upon the broad expanse of a lake, making
up about one fifth of the total area. With well spaced
buildings, the garden landscape and water scape are
simple, extensive and natural, possessing the traditional
appearances of the Ming Dynasty.
Garden is divided into three
parts; the eastern, middle and the western parts. The
houses lie in the south of the garden.
The middle part
It is the cream of the garden with marvellous mountains,
clear water, exquisite buildings and exuberant trees
and flower reminiscent of the scenery in the south of
the Lower Yangtze.
Lying here and there to the south of the lake are garden
buildings and courts in cluster. On an east-west axis
there's the Hall of Drifting Fragrance in the middle,
flanked by the Loquat Garden Court , the Malus Micromalus
Makina court, the Poeny Pavilion, the Listening to the
Sound of Rain Pavilion, the small canglang, "A
Pure Mind Thinks Deep", and the Magnolia Hall.
Rising from the lake are the east and west hills made
from a mixture of earth and rocks, and covered with
trees. the Prunus Mume Pavilion and the Orange Pavilion
stand atop of the hills.
By the side of the lake there are forsythias gently
stroking the surface of water, and bringing about delightful
effects of nature. Much of the surprise comes from the
disposition of the Fragrant Isle, the pavilion in lotus
breezes and the Mountain-in-View Tower to the west of
the lake.from the secluded pavilion of Firmiana Simplex
and Bamboo one is able to catch sight of the pagoda
of paying debts of gratitude in distance. The picturesque
scene of the pagoda mirrored in water is an example
of the garden technique called "borrowed view from
The western part
The buildings in the western part of the garden are
properly arranged by the lake.To the south of the lake
is a big mandarin duck's hall with two halves. The northern
half is named "the Hall of 36 pairs of mandarin
ducks" and the southern half "the hall of
18 camellias ". Built to the west of the lake are
the Inducalamus Pavilion, the "With Whom Shall
I Sit"?pavilion,the Floating Green Tower, the Stay-and-Listen
Pavilion, the Pagoda Reflection pavilion.Going up and
down and in a zigzag, a unique veranda over the water
is a structure built along the wall to the east of the
lake. The Good-For-Both-Families Pavilion on the top
of the hill overlooks the middle and western parts,
another example of the garden technique called "
borrowed view from near".
Decorated with the Cymbidium Virents Hall, the lotus
pavilion, the Celestial Spring Pavilion, the Far Away
Looking Pavilion and the All blue Pavilion, the eastern
part of the garden has verdant hills with pine and bamboo
, distant islands encircled by winding streams, and
an extensive area of grass, flowers and trees.
Glowing out of the mud, lotus blooms still keep themselves
pure and clean. The farther their smell drifts the purer
it becomes. A good number of buildings in the garden
are named after lotus blooms, often known as "a
true person of the virtue "among flowers, such
as the Hall of Drifting Fragrance,the Lotus Pavilion,
the pavilion in the Lotus Breeze, and the Stay-and-Listen
Pavilion,expressing the theme of the whole garden----to
be pure as lotus blooms.
Lying to the south of the garden is the house, which
is the typical residence in Suzhou. On a north-south
axis there are four successive buildings, namely the
Sedan-Chair Hall, the Reception Hall and two two-storeyed
buildings. To the east of the axis are the Mandarin
Ducks' Hall with flower-basket decoration, the Flower
Hall and the Four -Sided Viewing Hall.
altogether 48 different buildings, 101 parallel couplets
and door plate aux, 40 stelae, 21 precious old trees,
namely Wistaria, Sabina chincherinchee, pterocaulous
stenophyllous,etc.falling into 13 different catalogues,
and over 700 bonsai (potted landscape) kept in the Bonsai
Garden in the western part of the garden, representing
the Suzhou style bonsai, one of the four leading bonsai
styles in china.