Surrounded by imposing mountain scape and the vertical structures of commercial Kowloon, Hong Kong, is a creative oases that makes one forget the afflictions of city life. The 3.5 hectares Nan Lian Garden, modeled on the famous Tang Dynasty Jiangshouju Garden in Shanxi Province, follows the Chinese tradition of ‘earth enclosing rocks’ with water bodies and timber structures set amidst quiet winding paths and hillocks named according to direction, site or the plants. Thus we have the East or South Hills, the Spring Hill, the Myrtle or Fragrance Hill and the Pagoda Tree Hill. There is also the Dragon Hill or Turtleback Hill on auspicious animals.
The center of it all is the Pavilion of Absolute Perfection with its gold leaf covered tower and two flamboyant orange bridges, the Zi Wu Bridges, off bounds to visitors. The bridges connect the Pavilion to the Lotus Pond and the Blue Pond watered by fresh water springs with giant Koi fish darting around in the Blue Pond. Nearby is the Fragrance Hill swathed in the breezy perfume of Lohan Pines, Osmanthus and orange-jasmine while the Banyan Grove is the place to soak in the sanctified air. From the Lotus Terrace one can view the Nan Lian Garden in its entirety.
One can feel the calmness, the sense of space despite the organized abundance of over 3000 trees of more than 59 distinct varieties including Pagoda Tree, Chinese Elm, Sago Palm, Crape Myrtle, Buddha pines and variety of flowering species, Bougainville shrubs, set amidst boulders, rocks and petrified wooden placements.
The garden is the antidote for heat and crowds and one can spend an entire day marooned in natural beauty. Other interesting landmarks of the Garden are the Chinese Timber Architecture Gallery, the Lunar Reflection terrace, the Mill and Silver Strand waterfall, The Tang gallery with its souvenir and snack shops, the Rockery showcasing rocks from the Hongshui River, and the Chi Lin Nunnery.