Explore the China Garden
The China Garden at the U.S. National Arboretum is divided into three distinct sections:
Mountain House of Sliced Stone
Located in the front of the China Garden, this section is an enclosed area that will include a small pond and traditional Chinese buildings decorated with Ming- and Qing-style hardwood furniture and artwork. It is adjacent to a traditional boat house located on the 1.7 acre lake.
An elegant entrance to the House of Sliced Stone, the Entrance Hall guides the visitors to Nanmu Hall. Calligraphy and paintings hang on the walls, giving visitors an understanding of the settings in which ancient Chinese nobles entertained guests while relaxing.
A dominant feature in this complex, Nanmu Hall is made from the rare and beautiful Nanmu wood used in traditional Chinese gardens. It is decorated with furniture reminiscent of the Ming and Qing dynasties, as well as original paintings and calligraphy. Here, visitors can learn about the traditional lifestyle of a Chinese scholar and how he entertained his guests. From the interior, visitors can contemplate the beautiful pond and rockery comprising the northern half of the Mountain House of Sliced Stone.
A traditional structure where scholars and merchants would retire to enjoy the arts. Modern-day visitors will have the same opportunity. The Reciting Room is reserved for the four arts highly admired in traditional Chinese culture—harp, chess, books and painting. It is arranged as a study with an area for enjoying the harp or as a room for playing chess.
Mountain House Rockery and Pool
A rockery made of Chinese limestone is the primary feature of the interior northern section of the House of Sliced Stone. The rockery, accented with Chinese trees and shrubs, provides the perfect backdrop for a small, irregular pool that reaches across the Mountain House interior. It is designed to be a highlight of the China Garden.
Quiet Fragrant Hall
The Quiet Fragrant Hall is the main feature on the west side of the lake and is the largest structure in this section of the China Garden. A functional tea house, it is furnished with luxurious furniture. Visitors can enjoy the fragrant flavor of tea while savoring the magnificent view of the lake.
Ge Garden (Four Season Garden)
A four-season garden. Several buildings and pavilions compliment the rockeries and plantings found in this section.
Four Seasons Rockeries, Plantings and Pool
The interior courtyard features the most extensive rockery in the China Garden, highlighting the four seasons of the year. Upon entering the Ge Garden, visitors see an array of stones and early flowering plants signifying spring. The path leads them to another rockery whose colors and plants symbolize summer. In the northeastern portion of the courtyard, red, orange and yellow boulders adorned with autumn foliage represent fall. Visitors end their journey in front of the winter rockeries and a wall with strategically placed round, open windows allow for the sound of winter winds to be heard.
Embracing Mountain Building
The Embracing Mountain Building is the largest structure and the only two-story building in the China Garden. It has facilities on the lower level for meetings, seminars, lectures and banquets. The upper level is an area for exhibitions of Chinese arts and crafts.
Agreeable Rain Pavilion
A Qing-style building that lies in the heart of the Ge Garden, the Agreeable Rain Pavilion is furnished with traditional Ming and Qing dynasty furnishings typical of a Chinese living room. The main theme of the interior will focus on bamboo culture. The furniture is complimented with various works of art, such as scrolls, paintings and viewing stones.
Ventilated House Leaking Moonlight
The Ventilated House Leaking Moonlight is a charming building and a central feature of the winter portion of the Ge Garden. Here visitors can hear the sound of the wind and, on certain evenings, view moonbeams filtering through the portals in the wall. Inside, the furniture is adorned with bamboo motif or engravings. Painted screens with poems and phrases as well as handicrafts made from bamboo hang on the walls.
Stroking Cloud Pavilion
In the northeastern part of the Garden, the open-air Stroking Cloud Pavilion rests on top of the extensive summer rockery. Its commanding view of the entire area and all of the buildings gives visitors the feeling of floating above the China Garden.
Soft Ripples Pavilion
A traditional six-sided, open-air pavilion at the base of the summer rockery, the Soft Ripples Pavilion is designed for rest and introspection. Visitors have clear views of the Embracing Mountain Building, the Agreeable Rain Pavilion and the Four Seasons Pool.
Finding Phases Corridor
Location for a gift shop offering souvenirs and books about Chinese gardens, plants, arts and culture.
The Crane Pavilion is an open-air pavilion that sits at the top of the massive spring rockery in the northwestern portion of the Ge Garden. Visitors can look out over the rockery and small pool to view the Agreeable Rain Pavilion and the Finding Phases Corridor.
Garden Floating on the Lake
A long, traditional bridge takes visitors over the lake and into the third and largest section of the China Garden. The Garden Floating on the Lake houses a series of pavilions designed to highlight the natural beauty and views of the entire garden.
This 1.7 acre lake is the heart of the China Garden. A planting of flowering lotus and water lilies forms a ying-yang circular pattern in the center of this water feature. A footpath winds around the lake, connecting the various buildings and garden features. The lake is 3 to 6 feet deep and has a natural clay bottom. Chinese trees such as the weeping willow line the edges of the lake.
Associated with traditional Buddhism, this elegant structure is based upon a similar White Pagoda overlooking Slender West Lake in Yangzhou, China. The outer walls are decorated with brick carvings of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals, and the tower shows the multi-racial harmony of the Chinese culture. Outdoor lights illuminate the Pagoda at night.
Based upon a traditional stone bridge with five large pavilions that cross Slender West Lake in Yangzhou, China, the five pavilions comprising this feature form a perfect harmony with the landscape. It commands a view down the sloping hillside of the lake, Ge Garden and Mountain House of Sliced Stone. The pavilions are open to the elements, allowing visitors to enjoy the breezes of spring, summer and autumn.
Located on the northern edge of the lake, the Long Corridor leads visitors from the Ge Garden and Mountain House of Sliced Stone to the peony garden, the Five-Pavilion Terrace and the footpath around the lake. The outer side of the corridor is partially enclosed by stone tablets that are engraved with ancient Chinese poems written in different styles of calligraphy. The inner wall of the Long Corridor is open to the elements.
This signature garden will be devoted to Chinese peonies. In late spring, visitors can observe the tree peonies that originated in China and herbaceous peonies in full bloom.
This traditional, six-sided pavilion is located at the eastern end of the Long Corridor and has views of the entire Peony Garden. Visitors can look back across the lake to view the Ge Garden and the Mountain House of Sliced Stone.
Sitting at the highest point in the China Garden, the Breeze Pavilion provides an unobstructed view of the entire garden and surrounding area. Following a footpath from the Enchanted Lake and past the White Pagoda, visitors can rest here and enjoy the grand view in this traditional, six-sided structure.
The Square Pavilion is a wooden, open-air structure located at the beginning of the Long Corridor. From here, visitors can enjoy a view across the lake.