The MN China Friendship Garden Society is proud to unveil the designs for the St. Paul – Changsha Sister-city China Friendship Garden 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 St. Paul and its Parks & Rec Department, St. Paul’s 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.

The garden will honor the many contributions by the Chinese in Minnesota since the 1870s, integrate Chinese garden design principles within the natural setting of Phalen Regional Park, and be a bridge between the Minnesota Hmong and the Hmong ancestral home of Changsha, Hunan Province, China.

Construction on the Sister-city gift from Changsha, the Xiang Jiang Pavilion (replica of Changsha’s famous Aiwan Pavilion) has begun!

Changsha Style Architecture

Future Phalen Park Lakeside Pavilion, with Changsha-style architecture

This China Garden Will Be:

  • First Chinese garden in the United States using Changsha-style architecture
  • 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

Mediation Sculpture


Minnesota Advisor to the Garden Society, Weiming Lu, pointing out location of China Garden in relation to “Meditation” statue by Master Lei Yixin, of Changsha, China

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 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