The MN China Friendship Garden Society announces that construction has begun for the St. Paul – Changsha Sister-city China Friendship Garden of Whispering Willows and Flowing Waters on a 1.2 acre site at Phalen Park.  This is a sister-city collaboration initiated by the MN China Friendship Garden Society, with the City of Saint Paul Department of Parks & Recreation, Payne-Phalen District 5 Planning Council, with the City of Changsha, Hunan Province, the Changsha People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, and the Changsha Yanghu Wetland Park (Phalen Park’s sister park) in China.  Changsha has been the sister-city to the City of St. Paul since 1988.

“Follow Us” on Facebook at St. Paul-Changsha China Friendship Garden at Phalen Park for Regular Updates and Events. Click here.

View a Video of 2018 Progress (produced by Nick Nelson)

Click here for details about St. Paul’s Sister-City Gift to Changsha – the 5 Peanuts Characters statues.


November 3, 2018:  China Friendship Garden OPEN HOUSE

Click here for 11/3/2018 Open House Photo Collage.


October 13, 2018: Scaffolding is taken down & Landscaping begins

September 2018:  Construction continues with MN Team

August 26, 2018: Farewell picnic to Changsha Artisans

August 2018: Installation of Hmong Heritage Wall is completed!

August 6, 2018: Final container arrives and construction begins!


July 24, 2018:  Four containers arrived from Changsha at Phalen Park!

For more photos, click here.


Thank you to all our supporters who attended the July 14, 2018, Groundbreaking Celebration!  For more photos, click here.


Construction began on May 31, 2018!

May 30, 2018, Hmong Blessing by Hmong Elder XF. Txawj Miav Vaj at Construction Site

May 29, 2018, Feng Shui Ceremony at Construction Site

Changsha Unveiling Ceremony (May 3, 2018) of Xiang Jiang Pavilion

Pictured left to right: Xiong Zhongshan, Liu Fang, Fan  Jennifer Junfang, Wen Youhua, Wei Jianxin, Zheng Lihu, Zhou Shulan, Xiang Handong, Du Borui, LuXingying, Du Shanping, Lei Yixin, Zhang Feng, Shen Shouyun, Wen Chunhua, Chuen Qionglin, Li Yachun, Chen Wenxiang

The Fabrication in Changsha of the Hmong Heritage Wall & West Entrance Arch

The Fabrication in Changsha of the Xiang Jiang Pavilion, Sister-city gift to St. Paul


Future Phalen Park Lakeside Pavilion, with Changsha-style architecture

Changsha Style Architecture
This China Garden Will Be:
  • First Chinese garden in the United States using Changsha-style architecture
  • First Sister-City China Garden in Minnesota
  • Sister-City project between City of St. Paul and its sister-city Changsha, Hunan, China
  • Located at Phalen Park, St. Paul, across from “Meditation” sculpture by Changsha Sculptor Lei Yixin
Changsha Architect Team

The China Garden conceptual designs were created by the husband and wife architect team from Changsha, Jennifer Junfang FAN 范俊芳 and Jon Youhua WEN 文友华 (Changsha Hunan Jianke Landscape Company, Ltd. 湖南建科园林有限公司), who worked with Alice Messer, senior landscape architect for St. Paul Parks & Rec (pictured below with Mike Hahm and Bryan Murphy of Parks & Rec, Weiming Lu, Bill Pesek, formerly with Parks & Rec, Linda Mealey-Lohmann, Bill Zajicek, and Romi Slowiak).

Changsha architects visit site  architects design meeting
Meditation Sculpture in Relation to China Garden (Weiming Lu)

The 9-foot sculpture by Changsha Master Artist Lei Yixin, entitled “Meditation,” was installed at Phalen Park and dedicated by Mayor Coleman. This sculpture was created in July 2006, when the US-China Peoples Friendship Association, Minnesota Chapter, invited Master Lei from China to participate in the St. Paul “Minnesota Rocks” Stone Carving Symposium. Master Lei is the artist who created the 30-foot Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial “Stone of Hope” installed in Washington, D.C. and dedicated in 2011. Master Lei is a liaison between USCPFA-MN and the Minnesota China Friendship Garden Society and the Changsha and Hunan governments. Weiming Lu has a long history of building bridges between the U.S. and China and has been an Advisor / Board Member to the China Garden Society since its inception.

Recent Park Improvements
restored waterfall stonearch bridge sitting piers

The China Garden is designed with larger path connections to the recent park improvements, such as the restored waterfall, restored historic stone arch bridge, limestone shoreline sitting areas, and fishing piers, as well as to the bicycle trails and adjacent island. The pathways encourage people to move through the garden and explore other areas of Phalen Regional Park.

Dragon Festival
Phalen Park is the site of the annual two-day Dragon Festival in July, which attracts visitors from all over the state to view the 40-foot long Chinese dragon boat races, along with Asian performances, martial arts demonstrations, and food. The China Friendship Pavilion would complement and enhance both the beautiful Changsha sculpture and the Dragon Festival.

Dragon Garden At Phalen Poetry Park
On the southern end of Phalen Park is a community garden sponsored by the East Side Arts Council at 1000 East Wheelock Parkway. It is designed as a sleeping dragon encircling a dry rock bed with benches cast as inviting open books.

Download the Changsha Garden Brochure (pdf)
adobe_reader_small changsha_garden_brochure_2017
changsha china garden
Make a Donation to the St. Paul Changsha Garden