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A Moongate Built Because the English Favored This Chinese Garden Feature

One of my favorite public gardens is Blithewold in Bristol, Rhode Island.

Thousands of daffodils bloom under the trees at Blithewold.

Yesterday I drove down to see the thousands of daffodils that greet you in the bosquet, near the house. This is a shaded, low area where spring bulbs put on a show beyond belief.

In the rose garden at the end of a walkway you see the Moongate, a circular stone entrance into the garden.   The sign there describes the origin of this structure: “In 1907, Landscape Architect John DeWolf designed and supervised construction of the Moongate, the most notable feature of the Rose Garden. Circular stone entries similar to this were popular in English gardens of the same era, and were originally derived from the gardens of China, representing the full moon, or happiness, in Chinese philosophy and tradition.”

The Moongate, built in 1907, in Blithewold's Rose Garden.

Henry Shaw’s garden in St. Louis, now called the Missouri Botanical Garden, built in the second half of the nineteenth century also has a Moongate.

I was amazed that the reason to construct it was that the English at that time were doing this same design for their gardens.

Late nineteenth century American gardeners, rich as well as middle class alike,  looked in awe at the English garden.


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