January 28th marks the beginning of Chinese New Year and the Year of the Fire Rooster.
If this is the year of your sign, according to Chinese astrology, Fire Roosters will have to work hard to bring fortune to all aspects of their lives this year.
What does this have to do with gardening? Actually, quite a bit. Flowers are a big part of celebrating Chinese New Year. From that perspective, we encourage Fire Roosters to incorporate gladiolas and cockscomb flowers into their gardens and floral arrangements throughout the year. These two plants are considered to bring good luck to Fire Roosters.
But it’s not just flowers that mark the new year; Richmond is also home to some of the most beautiful Chinese gardens in North America. Their design and esthetic can bring peace and tranquility to all of us in this Year of the Rooster.
The International Buddhist Society’s Buddhist Temple located at 9160 Steveston Highway, Richmond, offers a wonderful example of a Chinese classical garden. Chinese gardens are not like Western gardens; they need interpretation. Enjoyment of a Chinese classical garden can be enhanced by understanding the ideology of its design.
Chinese classical gardens were originally created for wealthy merchants who did not want to appear pretentious. These gardens were created with the purpose to enhance the beauty of nature and to offer a peaceful environment. High walls were built to keep out noise and distraction, while strategically placed ‘leak windows’ were created to let in light but not outside views.
A typical Chinese garden is enclosed by high walls and includes ponds, rock formations, trees and flowers and an assortment of halls and pavilions all connected with winding paths. Visitors can stroll through an array of carefully designed landscapes much like viewing a series of landscape paintings.
Steveston Buddhist Temple offers carefully designed serene gardens adorned with pine and spruce trees and artistically pruned trees of all shapes and sizes. The quiet beauty and peacefulness is enhanced with rock formations, elegant bonsai, serene statues and beautiful lotus ponds — all conducive to quiet meditation and tranquility.
Richmond Garden Club encourages all Fire Roosters to visit this peaceful, serene garden to assist them in bringing good luck to them throughout 2017! In fact, all of us will benefit from removing ourselves from our hectic, noisy and busy lives by offering our souls healing tranquility and meditation while strolling through these beautiful gardens. Visit the International Buddhist Temple website a BuddhistTemple.ca for hours and location.
Lynda Pasacreta is the current president of the Richmond Garden Club. For more information visit their website at richmondgardenclub.ca.