Sometimes, as is the case of peach and plum trees, which are often dwarfed, the plants are thrown into a flowering states, and then, as they flower freely year after year, they have little inclination to make vigorous growth.
The main stem was then in most cases twisted in a zigzag form, which process checked the flow of the sap, and at the same time encouraged the production of side branches at those parts of the stem where they were most desired.
One marked feature of the people, both high and low, is a love for flowers.
So high do these plants stand in the favour of the Chinese gardener, that he will cultivate them extensively, even against the wishes of his employer; and, in many instances, rather leave his situation than give up the growth of his favourite flower.
The plants which stand next to dwarf trees in importance with the Chinese are certainly chrysanthemums, which they manage extremely well, perhaps better than they do any other plant.
This may be done by grafting, by confining the roots, withholding water, bending the branches, or in a hundred other ways which all proceed upon the same principle.
Stunted varieties were generally chosen, particularly if they had the side branches opposite or regular, for much depends upon this; a one-sided tree is of no value in the eyes of the Chinese.
The plants are principally kept in large pots arranged in rows along the sides of narrow paved walks, with the houses of the gardeners at the entrance through which the visitors pass to the gardens.
The tree was evidently aged, from the size of its stem. It was about six feet high, the branches came out from the stem in a regular and symmetrical manner, and it had all the appearance of a tree in miniature.
We are told that the first part of the process is to select the very smallest seeds from the smallest plants, which is not at all unlikely, but I cannot speak to the fact from my own observation.
No doubt these rocky islands have suggested the idea worked out in gardens, and they have been well imitated.
A small species of pinus was much prized, and, when dwarfed in the manner of the Chinese, fetched a very high price; it is generally grafted on a variety of the stone pine.
Nothing of the kind; they do all these things in their houses and sheds, with common charcoal fires, and a quantity of straw to stop up the crevices in the doors and windows.
When these suckers had formed roots in the open ground, or kind of nursery where they were planted, they were looked over and the best taken up for potting.
These gardens may be called the gardens of the respectable working classes.
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