Why is Li Garden special
Situated at the southern tip of Wuxi in Jiangsu province, Li Garden is a private garden built in the early 20th century. The garden is classical Chinese style in layout and architecture, thus presents as a quintessential Chinese garden amidst a backdrop of picturesque lake scenery. The garden landscape merges with Lihu Lake to become the most beautiful spot on the entire lake.
It is said that Fan Li, a prime minister of the Yue State in Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC - 476 BC), was very meritorious in helping the king to conquer another state. However, he decided to live in privacy with one of the Four Beauties in ancient China named Xi Shi after the big success. They lived in this area and boated on Lihu Lake. In order to commemorate Fan Li, the lake was named after his name. Furthermore, the garden was named after the lake.
With ponds, a walkway, mini-bridges, mini-pagodas and souvenir stalls dotted everywhere in the garden, the Li Garden appears full of life and is like a mysterious labyrinth. There is a tour boat dock inside the garden for cruises to other points on the lakeshore.
Met by the calming Lihu Lake along the sides, the garden's rolling hills and paved stone paths, as well as pavilions and corridors create a meandering maze throughout the grounds. A profound sense of peace and tranquility is deeply embedded in the garden's classic beauty. Li Garden was designed to create a spiritual utopia through a greater connection with nature.
Li Garden Highlights
The garden is surrounded by water on three sides. The scenery in the garden can be divided into three sections: rockeries in the middle section; the scenic spots such as Long Beach and Four Seasons Pavilions in the west section; and abundant spots including Spring and Autumn Pavilion and Thousand-step Corridor in the east section.
Rockeries are designed high in various shapes and styles in the middle section. Some are sharp and angular, some are purely magnificent. There is a stone path wide in some sections but narrow in other sections, bright in some sections but obscure in others. Walking along the path is like being in a maze. The rockeries are endowed with more vitality by the lake.
Four Seasons Pavilions
Four pavilions known as Spring Pavilion, Summer Pavilion, Autumn Pavilion and Winter Pavilion constitute Four Seasons Pavilion. They were built in the same style. The pictures of flowers in four seasons are painted on the pillars. Beside each pavilion, a special kind of flower was planted. Plum blossoms are planted beside the Spring Pavilion; Oleanders are planted beside the Summer Pavilion; Sweet-scented Osmanthus can be found by the Autumn Pavilion; and Calyx Canthus by the Winter Pavilion. Therefore, beautiful flowers can be appreciated in any season. For example, when the autumn comes, tens of Osmanthus trees give off strong fragrance, the green leaves and golden flowers make it the best place to appreciate the moon on the Mid-autumn Festival.
Planted with hundreds of willows and peaches, Long Beach is particularly beautiful in spring. A pavilion stands in the southwest of the beach is the preferable site for sightseeing for the whole lake and peaks in the opposite.
Spring and Autumn Pavilion
Spring and Autumn Pavilion is three stories high with eaves cocked upwards. The pavilion gained its name for it is a relation place for Fan Li and Xi Shi who lived in the Spring and Autumn Periods. The name causes people to imagine the sweet love story between them in the ancient times. As the highest architecture in the garden, Spring and Autumn Pavilion provides people a good place to overlook the panoramic view around the garden.
With a length about 300 meters, thousand-step corridor is a classical southern style with 89 windows in totally different design. It faces water on one side and a wall on the other side displaying calligraphy and inscriptions from famous litterateurs Su Shi and Mi Fu in the Song Dynasty and calligrapher Wang Yangming in the Ming Dynasty.