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An entrance to the Ou Yuan [ Couple's Retreat ] garden in Suzhou.

Ou Yuan 耦园     - yet why single out this ' little garden,' now of two parts ?

Well, that is a fair question and hopefully, the following is also, a fair answer.

It is because there is the need, always to see ' the large in the small.'

[ When the photos featured here, were being taken by friend Ms Tan Jamie, for her album titled Suzhou May 2006 - the GardenClipper of Chinesegardenscene.cn  -   was ensconced in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, Vancouver, BC ]

Ou Yuan 耦园  

Located in Xiaoxin Qiaoxiang, Loumen Nei, in the north-eastern part of Suzhou.

Quietly hidden in the small lane off of Pingjiang Road.

Every inch of the garden has been carefully thought out.

The original name was Sheyuan, also called Xiaoyu Lin.

Construction started during the Qing dynasty's Yongqian period [ 1723  -1795  ]

It was built by Lu Jin, the prefect of Baoning district.

In the 13th year of the Tongzhi period [ 1874 ] it was bought by Shen Bingcheng, the official of Susong.

A pavilion in the Ou Yuan [ Couple's Retreat ] garden in Suzhou.

He expanded its area and divided it into a western and eastern part;

and occupies a total area of just 0.8 hectares.

He also changed the name to the Couple's Garden Retreat.

The meaning of its name refers to the garden's two parts as well as to that of a couple.

[ I like photographer Tan Jamie's explanation here, too - Ou = lotus;

yet in Chinese, it sounds like ' couple,' hence Couple's Garden  ]

Penjing located and wonderfully positioned, outside a pavilion window.

It has water on three sides, the Couple's Garden Retreat has piers close to the front and back entrances and is rectangular in shape.

Another view of the penjing, looking out to the right side.

The housing complex, flanked by the East and West Garden, consists of four buildings in succession and is joined with the gardens by multi-storied buildings.

And here, perhaps the same angle, yet with an even brighter view.

The Eastern part of the garden - landscape's arrangement is based on yellow stone rockeries, with ponds, and flowers and trees added.

The East Garden has a dominant "mountain" rising from a pond.

In order to show high mountains and deep ponds, the buildings are pushed to brink of the garden, since the garden's area only occupies 0.33 hectares.

The rockeries are divided into primary and secondary ones; the primary are located in the east; on top is a stone house;

the secondary are found in the west; on top is a platform.

Between these two parts is a gorge called "Suigu"with a width of only 1 metre.

Both sides are very steep, with the walls stretching down into the pond, adding both steepness and forcefulness.

The combination of rockery and water is both soft and strong, expressing the harmonious beauty of mother nature.

The Thatched Cottage at the City Corner, a principal structure of the garden, is made up of a group of double-roofed and multi-storied buildings, fronting a very natural and realistic yellowstone mountain, running from east to west, piled up by the great master Zhang Nanyang at the end of the Ming Dynasty.

To the south of the pond is the Amongst Mountains and Water Pavilion. Made of ormosia wood in the Ming Dynasty, the circular door frame of the pavilion, about 4 m. across and 3.5 m. high, was carved with an open-work picture of " Three Friends in the Dead of Winter ", namely pine, bamboo and prunus mume instinct with life, an art treasure of this sort in the classical gardens of Suzhou.

Please visit Szzzy.cn, through LINKAGE:         Couple's Retreat

The West Garden consists of studies, pavilions and garden courts.

One enters the garden and gets a glimpse of limestone mountains with caves connected up with each other below and an undulating wall above, which encloses and divides space.

To the north of the mountains is the Old House with Woven Curtains;

at the rear of which there's a study, an " L " shaped tower used as a library, decorated with rocks, trees and flowers in front.