by Bill Zajicek, president, Minnesota China Friendship Garden Society.

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      There were two large volunteer projects at the garden this summer/fall. As a result, the rock garden was completely weeded and mulched; the donor stanchion received a new coat of paint, the Hmong Heritage Wall was painted, and as a gift from the Minnesota Peony Society, nine peonies were planted: three each of herbaceous “Krinkled White,” herbaceous “America Red” and tree peonies (Fuji-Zome-Goromo, Renkaku, Tai Hai)!!!

       More planting was planned, but the Landscape Nurseries had run out of good stock. It’s been a COVID kind of year. One of our honorary advisors, Bill Pesek, is finalizing the planting plan for next spring. Those interested in participating in a spring planting, please email me (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). If you want to know who participated so far, they are listed ~ with photos! ~ on our website,

Fundraising for Phase II of the China Garden took a big step forward with the approval of the Minnesota State Bonding Bill. It included $500,000 for the Hmong Cultural Plaza, which brings us up to nearly $1,000,000 for the next phase. Many thanks to supporters who emailed their legislators as well the MAPC legislators, especially Rep. Tim Mahoney and Sen. Foung Hawj who have supported the garden project since 2015.

Previous funding will allow for the planning, design and preparing a construction estimate for Phase II. All remaining funding will be used for construction. The major elements of Phase II include: the Hmong Cultural Plaza, a Chinese Moon Bridge, extension of the Xiang Jiang Pavilion Rock Garden to the water’s edge, and an east entrance moon date/donor wall.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that because of the complexity of the first phase of the project and transportation delays, the resulting cost overruns require us to pay $120,000 to the City of St. Paul before we can proceed any further.

During this giving season, please consider supporting one of only two China gardens in Minnesota: a truly unique sister-city project in the Changsha style. You can find us on the GiveMN site during the week of Nov. 15, or use this link to give at The Minnesota China Friendship Garden Society website.


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