Make sure your volume is on: "Sir George talks about the Boathouse"
So first of all let’s get one thing clear if we may. This is a ‘boathouse’. It is where a gentleman keeps his boat when he is not actually using it, so that it doesn’t get full of leaves or rainwater or nesting ducks. It is not the same thing as a ‘houseboat’, which is where some people live when they need to spend their lives working on the water.
Having said that, this boathouse is a bit special, don’t you think? It is a proper Chinese design. Obviously, having spent all those years of my life in the port city of Canton, I saw plenty of examples of how they arrange their boats and docks and suchlike, so it was easy for me to draw up a design. These big round openings here, you see, are very typical of the Chinese building style – you often see them in gardens…they are called ‘moon gates’ which is so very poetic, don’t you think.
Yes, I spent a lot of time on the dockside, but for the Chinese gentleman, water is an almost essential element in a garden. You see, they try to make their gardens into miniature worlds, so sometimes they create a stream or a lake – just like I did here – or even build a miniature mountain.
Water helps to make a space for contemplation and rest – which is how I want my pleasure garden to be.