Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Chinese Scholar Garden

Chinese Scholar Garden
Staten Island Botanical Garden

The showcase and centerpiece of the Staten Island Botanical Garden is the New York Chinese Scholar Garden. There is a separate admission charge of $5 (US) for this garden. The other gardens are free. I gladly paid and didn’t think to ask if my New York Botanical Garden membership fee would get me break. It didn’t matter as the show was well worth the admission. It is a remarkable garden that has surprises around every corner. I had my trusty Coolpix set to black and white and also had the D70s with the 60mm shooting color. In hindsight I probably should have put the wide-angle lens on the D70 but I like the challenge of trying to get shots with the 60mm prime. I have been wanting to shoot more B&W so I actually used the little camera more. There was a multitude of shots to be had with all the angles and details in the garden.

I looked up just what a Chinese Scholar Garden is supposed to be and found this article on Wikipedia:
Chinese Scholar Garden

I have reprinted a portion of it here:

“The Chinese (Scholar's) Garden is a place for solitary or social contemplation of nature. To be considered authentic, a garden must be built and planned around seventeen essential elements. 17 features of a Scholar's garden: 1) near or at the home; 2) small; 3) walled; 4) small individual sections; 5) asymmetrical; 6) various types of spatial connections; 7) architecture; 8) rocks; 9) water; 10) trees; 11) plants; 12) sculpture; 13) jie jing (borrowed scenery); 14) chimes; 15) incense burners; 16) inscriptions; 17) use of feng shui for choosing site.”
Source: Marylyn McKean, Professor of Garden History at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design

The rest of the article goes on to talk about how the different plants are used and what they symbolize. All of which I found interesting. I think the only other Chinese Garden I have ever been in is the one in the Montreal Botanical Garden Montréal, Québec Canada.
Click Here

And that was really new at the time. The New York Garden seemed more established. Now know more about Chinese Gardens, including the major elements I can see how they were presented in Staten Island. I had the garden to myself a good part of the time which was nice. I only had to wait once when I was taking a picture for someone to move out of the way. It was really quiet and therefore more enjoyable to me.

I have decided to post only the Black and White pictures here today. These are not color conversions but shot with the camera in the monochrome setting. You can see I was fascinated by the Moon Gate. The only other one I have remember seeing was at Naumkeag in Stockbridge, MA.

Well the will be another post on the Garden, probably in color, in the next couple of days. I have to think about what I want to post for ABC Wednesday and Wordless Wednesday. It is back to the grind today. I can’t believe it is Labor Day already. I am going to have to do some watering if it doesn’t rain this week.

My apologies to anyone on a dial up connection for posting so many pictures. I crushed them down as far as I could without losing too much of the quality.


kml said...

Great images - love the circle windows! The black and white works really well - good contrasts.

Layanee said...

Black and white are very effective with this garden as the textures show up so well as do the shadows. Lovely photos and I can see why the Moon Gate fascinates!

Sandy Carlson said...

These are outstanding! What a photographic essay! PLEASE get your camera out to the Buddhist monastery in Carmel!

Digital Flower Pictures said...

kml, thanks. Coming from you I really appreciate it.

layanee, I tried to step out of the box. Normally I think of gardens being about color.

sc, thanks I will have to check that place out.

La Tea Dah said...

Lovely photos and commentary on the Chinese Scholar Garden. They remind me very much of the Chinese Gardens in Portland, Oregon. Some places actually look identical. I blogged a few photos from my visit there last summer --- I'll have to see if I can find the link for you.

:) LaTeaDah

Digital Flower Pictures said...

la tea dah,

I like your blogger handle. I think most Chinese Gardens are similar in design. I would be interested in taking a look at the link if you can find it. The gardens may have been designed by the same person.

OldRoses said...

I visited this garden last fall. It was breathtaking. I'm sorry I didn't have a chance to visit it again this year during the growing season.

Digital Flower Pictures said...

Hi old roses,
Always an honor and a pleasure when you stop by. I read your post and thought your pictures were really good.

Ki said...

Lovely b&w photos. Interesting to compare the less seen Chinese garden to the more common Japanese gardens. The view through the moon gate is really cool!