In Yangzhou, many splendid private gardens, which were built by some salt dealers in Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911), are well-retained. Among the all, Ge Garden is the oldest and best-preserved one with great artistic value.
Ge Garden of Yangzhou, or Geyuan (Chinese: 个园), located in the north of the ancient city, was built by a salt dealer Huang Zhiyun in 1818 during Qing Dynasty. Bamboo grove of a wide variety is the vivid characteristic of Ge Garden, and it is interesting that the name of "Ge Garden (个园)" came from bamboo leaves: every three connecting bamboo leaves look like the Chinese character "个" and double "个" is just the character ”竹(bamboo)”.
Bamboo is the dominated plant in Ge Garden is bamboo; the combination of bamboos and fine stones is the originality of this noted garden plus mansions, pavilions and bridges. The highlights of Ge Garden, rockeries of four seasons, are unique in Chinese gardens with ingenious layout, selected materials, exquisite design and profitable use of stones. Each of the lifelike rockeries with a distinctive identity shows different poetic and artistic prospects in four seasons. Standing in Yiyu veranda, the center of the garden, visitors can easily enjoy these four season views.
What to see in Ge Garden?
Spring View in Ge Garden: It is the first part of the garden just behind the rounded entrance arch and connected with the bamboo grove. The mottled stone bamboos in the grove create a spring view of vitality. This refreshing technique of bamboos and stones expresses the idea of cherishing the spring time, for spring is a fine season but passes quickly.
Summer View in Ge Garden: This view can be enjoyed in the northwest of the garden which is embraced by mansions and pavilions. Stones in Summer View are cinerous Taihu Lake stones. The lean and wrinkled uneven Taihu Lake stones are laid one after another, making easy and smooth grotesque peaks in distance, while dainty and exquisite caves at close range. Green pool water beneath the rockery just reflects the elegance of the hill. Ancient cypress or fishes accompany the lotuses, every detail here is designed to be pleasant.
Autumn View in Ge Garden: Pass through the long line corridor, the grand Autumn View is in sight. It is Huangshan (Yellow Mountain) rocks that make this high and precipitous rockery. Get into it, amazing and awesome peak can be seen everywhere; at the bottom, stone table, stone benches and stone bed are contained in the stone house for rest. It is a good idea to clime the hill, especially at dusk when you can see the golden color kindles the whole hill.
Winter View in Ge Garden: The master arranged the Winter View back against the south wall without sunshine all over the year with quartzite. Quartzite is snow-white clear without any corners. Thus, it seems like a hill with thawless snow from a distance. The whole rockery was laid like a pride of lions, which are jumping and playing charmingly. There are also 24 holes in the south wall where wind blows through and make a sound, which produces a interesting sight together with the "thawless snow”.