This summer, a construction team is expected to begin transforming a 12-acre field at the U.S. National Arboretum into one of the most ambitious Chinese gardens ever built in the West.
By the time Chinese artisans finish their work some 30 months later, visitors will encounter a garden containing all the elements of a classical Chinese landscape: enticing moongate entrances, swooping and soaring roof lines, grand pavilions with carved wooden screens and groves of golden bamboo. The grounds will boast two dozen handcrafted pavilions, temples and other ornate structures around a large central lake.
Its backers undoubtedly hope that the National China Garden will become a Washington landmark and achieve for Sino-U.S. relations what the gift of the Tidal Basin’s cherry trees has done for Japanese-American links for more than a century. The Chinese government is so anxious to have the garden that it has agreed to foot the entire bill, which approaches $100 million.