"Japanese Gardening" from Journal of Horticulture and Cottage Gardener

      "Japanese Gardening" (1861):

       We have recently had an opportunity of comparing the horticulture of Japan with that of this country.  A gentleman residing in Yeddo -- the London of the eastern world -- has sent home some of the best specimens he could procure of the much-prized plants used in the decoration of the dwellings of the higher classes of Japanese society.  We find the principle upon which the horticulturist of that country works as different as possible to that which actuates the British gardener -- as widely do they differ from each other as the islands in which they originated.  The great aim of the Japanese gardener is to make a little, dwarfed, and stunted tree look as old, as gnarled, and twisted as possible; he strives to make the plant of a foot or two in height rival in this respect the monarch of the forest, whose moss-covered stem has braved the storms of a hundred winters, but which has, neverthesless, suffered from the effects of a thousand accidents.  In one case, a little Coniferous tree -- some species of Pinus which, in this condition, it is impossible to identify -- has had its roots crammed into a little porcelain flower-pot; its stem has then been bent backwards and forwards in a zig-zag way, and tied in a hundred places with narrow strips of bark (the produce probably of some kind of Daphne).  The Japanese are very skilful [sic] in the art of grafting, as is shown in several of these plants.  In one example an old Podocarpus stem has been cut off horizontally, and three or four scions of an oval-leaved species introduced; as these shoots grew, they were trained downwards, for the double purpose of hiding the stem, and at the same time checking the luxuriance of the plant.  The dark green glossy leaves of this specimen are on several of the shoots striped with white.


1    Journal of Horticulture and Cottage Gardener, No. 12, Vol. I, New Series; No. 664, Vol. XXVI, Old Series, June 18, 1861, pg. 224.

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