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Notes on the Gardens
Many other parks and gardens followed in the footsteps of Zhang Yuan. These include Yu Yuan (meaning Fools' Garden-not the phonetically same garden mentioned before) and Shen Yuan (Shanghai Garden), both of which were on Budding Well Road and were built in the sixth year of the reign of Guangxu (1890). Also included were Bansong Yuan (Mid Wusong River Garden), both along the Bund. Bansong Yuan was the most notable among them. In the first year of Xuantong's reign (1909) a Catholic named Shen Zhixian built a house with a garden at the confluence of the Huangpu River and its tributary the Xiaochai Creek. He dubbed his house Yulan Hall (Magnolia Hall). His relative Yao Baihong suggested he should follow the example of Zhang Yuan and make a profit by opening it to the public. When the suggestion was not heeded, Yao himself built a garden nearby with the name of Bansong Yuan. The garden had beautiful scenery, a donkey racecourse, a photo studio, a restaurant, plus another restaurant catering specially to vegetarians. Commodity exhibitions were often held in the garden. To earn more money he even allowed gambling in the garden with cricket-fighting games every autumn.

Bansong Yuan

Hardoon Yuan
Hardoon Garden was the largest garden of Shanghai, covering more than 170mu (7 mu=1 acre). It was built in 1909 by Hardoon, a wealthy Jewish merchant of British nationality. The garden contained more than 80 scenic sights, although most of these were pavilions and storied buildings, not much different from the structures of the other gardens. It had also a shrine and rooms for sutra-reading, because Mrs. Hardoon was a devout Buddhist. To provide a quiet surrounding even the tramcar was made to change its route near the garden. However, a big fire in the 1930's destroyed it and reduced it to rubble.

Today, some of these famous gardens remained intact, whereas others no longer exist. Zhang Yuan and Xu Yuan are now market-places. Yu Yuan and Shen Yuan were demolished in 1917, though the thoroughfare passing by is still called Yu Yuan Road. The gunfire of the Anti-Japanese War wrecked Bansong Yuan. Its site is now a busy waterfront street. The private garden of Li Hongzhang, an eminent Mandarin, became the premises of Fudan Middle School. The garden of Huang Jinrong, a former Shanghai big wig, became Quilin Park, Yijia Hua Yuan (Yi Family Garden), a famous garden at Jiangwan built by the fifth son of Yi Chengzhong, a well-known merchant from Zhejiang province, has been turned into a sanitarium for T.B. convalescents. Another well-known private garden has been changed into Huashan Hospital. In 1955, on the site of the erstwhile Hardoon Garden, the magnificent building of the Shanghai Exhibition Center was erected.

A private garden on Hongqiao Road



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