The Geometry of China Gardens

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Hey there!

When the sun came out on Monday I could not resist to finally visit the China Garden in Zurich. It is situated in a park at the lakeside (you can take bus 912 from Bellevue to ‘Chinagarten’). I had heard of the garden, but never actually visited it and I was more than curious to do so.

Since the garden is currently in the middle of a renovation, there is a reduced entrance fee of 1 Swiss franc per person (normally adults are 4 francs and children (under 14) 1 franc).

The garden was apparently designed after one of the main themes of Chinese culture: the “three friends of winter”. These are three different plants that all carry a symbolic meaning:

The pine symbolizes victorious virtue: it stands though it is bent by life’s struggle.
Bamboo is a symbol for the true Confucian nobleman: it bends in the wind but does not break.
And the winter cherry blossom stands for newly burgeoning life: it is the first to appear when there is still snow.

I loved the sense of creativity and artistic planning that seemed to have structured this garden. The mixture between nature and art, plants and architecture, water and bridges was curiously calming and inspiring. All the small details – the paintings, the Chinese writings, or the patterns in the cobblestones – only added to this effect.

The garden was a present from Zurich’s Chinese twin city of Kunming. The city received it in 1993 in gratitude for Zurich’s help with Kunming’s drinking water supply and drainage systems. The paintings on the different buildings are all handmade.

Unfortunately, the magnolia have not been in bloom yet, but guess which plant had already blossomed? Yes – the soft pink winter cherry.

This visit was definitely an experience worth making. Now have a look at the pictures and see if you can spot the “three friends of winter” ;).

XX Eliane

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