Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s Chinese Garden

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s Chinese Garden

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s Chinese Garden is a landscape garden style, that displays balanced harmony of heaven and earth, consists of natural objects and manmade structures. To be considered authentic, the Chinese Garden is built and planned around the following essential elements : Water, Rock, Architecture, Pavement, Decoration and Plants. The placement of rocks, water, architecture and plants combine to develop a sense of harmony and a place for solitary or social contemplation of nature.

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s Chinese Garden was recently inaugurated this Fall season, on September 21, 2017. Erik Lemke, from the Arboretum’s staff, is the Chinese garden project planner. Peter Moe is the interim arboretum director and Wendy DePaolis is fine arts curator.

To make the Chinese garden as authentic as possible, the Chinese garden consists of the following elements :

Water :  Chinese gardens usually feature a wetland pond with a gently sloping shoreline to allow for a blend of indigenous plants with variant soil types and blooming times. The softness of water offsets the solidity of the rocks, while also reflecting the constantly changing color of the sky above. Goldfish and mandarin ducks are two of the most commonly raised fauna.Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s Chinese Garden

Plants : The arboretum’s garden includes native Chinese species, that are suited for Minnesota weather. Plum trees are extremely valuable to the Chinese for their beautiful pink and white blooms during winter. Chrysanthemums are also a favorite because of their autumn bloom. Other species include Pine trees that represent wisdom and Bamboo represents strength and upright morality.

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s Chinese Garden
Chinese scholar’s rocks

Rock : The garden features observation areas of Chinese-style pagodas, classical stones and rocks, accessible walkways and a moon gate as the entrance into the Chinese Garden and Walk. A traditional Chinese circular entrance, or moon gate, creates the sense of entering a special place. Decorative rocks, also termed Chinese scholar’s rocks, forms the prominent feature in a Chinese traditional garden. Decoration consists of calligraphy, that was created by Hong Zhang, international artist and master calligrapher, and faculty member at the University of Minnesota. Zhang serves on the community advisory committee for the Chinese Garden & Walk. The inscription translates to “Garden of Harmonious Beauty.” 

The Peony Pavilion, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s Chinese Garden: Peony Pavilion is one of the most important works of classical Chinese opera. Peony Pavilion, signifies one of the most important works of Kunqu opera, a Classical Chinese opera. It is a play written by Tang Xianzu in the Ming Dynasty and first performed in 1598. From the Ming dynasty, Kunqu opera was often performed in gardens as part of Chinese garden culture.

A sweeping love story with subplots involving feudalism, the work in its original form consisted of fifty-five acts that take more than twenty hours to perform. In 2001, Kunqu opera was designated by UNESCO as “A Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.”

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s Chinese Garden
The Peony Pavilion

The garden also includes teak benches in Asian-inspired designs. The Chinese Garden is located just after High Point on Three Mile Drive, in the Minnesota Arboretum. When searching for directions to the Arboretum, please use the 3675 Arboretum Dr. Chaska, MN 55318 address. Check the google map link : https://goo.gl/maps/P6AKZL984PK2

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s Chinese Garden
A traditional Chinese circular entrance, or moon gate, creates the sense of entering a special place.


  1. Images are so beautiful.I love this place . Thank you for sharing this with us.

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