Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s Chinese Garden

Construction is underway for a Chinese Garden at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.
Chinese artwork and a Chinese garden are coming to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, thanks to efforts from Erik Lemke, Chinese garden project planner; Peter Moe, interim arboretum director; and Wendy DePaolis, fine arts curator.

Visitors can look forward to a new Chinese Garden at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum opening to the public this fall. Once completed, this garden will be a community area for education, cultural connection and appreciation, says interim director Peter Moe.

Chinese gardens are traditional spaces with unique architecture and flora, and the arboretum is working to make its Chinese garden as authentic as possible. Planners visited other Chinese gardens, taking design and planting cues.

The arboretum’s garden is centered around a wetland pond with a gently sloping shoreline to allow for a blend of indigenous plants with variant soil types and blooming times. It will also include native Chinese species hardy for Minnesota weather. “Northern China is very comparable to Minnesota,” says Moe, “with cold winters and hot summers and dry periods in the summer.”

The garden will feature observation areas of Chinese-style pagodas, incorporation of classical stones and rocks, accessible walkways and a moon gate as the main entrance.

As work on the garden continues throughout the summer, the arboretum is hosting a Chinese art exhibit from July 1–Sept. 11 in the Reedy Gallery. “A Brush With Beauty: Painting In The Chinese Tradition,” features artwork from Kairong Liu, Bob Schmitt, Yudong Shen and Hong Zhang, who are trained in the traditional Asian brush technique.

The Chinese Garden is just after High Point on Three Mile Drive.