Seattle Chinese Garden Society Programs
The Garden is a magnet drawing in Seattle's residents to learn more about their Pacific Rim neighbors and increasing cross-cultural understanding through educational and cultural programs. Since Seattle's early ties with contemporary China, formally through the Washington State China Relations Council in 1979, Seattle and Washington State have played a leading role in establishing and expanding US-China relations through business, trade, cultural, and educational initiatives. The SCG is an embodiment of the 33 years of trust, respect, and close collaboration between Washington State and China, including Sichuan Province, and between the sister cities of Seattle and Chongqing. It reflects the beauty of a Sichuan-style Chinese Garden, the only one of its kind outside of China. It engages local, regional, and international visitors in the richness of Chinese culture and enhance Seattle's important position on the Pacific Rim. It is a center for fostering friendships, understanding, and economic partnerships that will benefit the entire region for future generations.
Docent Tour Program
Seattle Chinese Garden Society has a dozen trained docents who, with advance arrangements and scheduling, lead tours for groups of ten or more. The tour presentation covers the significance of gardens in Chinese culture and the particular characteristics of Sichuan gardens. Visitors will see Knowing the Spring Courtyard, the Pine and Plum Pavilion, and learn about the vision and plans for the full 4.6-acre garden. Future pavilions include a tea house on a lotus pond, a four-story viewing pavilion, and a large Gathering Together Hall for programs, exhibits, banquets, and community events.
Educational, Cultural, and Horticultural Programs
Educational and cultural programs, many in partnership with other community organizations, include spring and fall classes to learn basic Mandarin language phrases through "Chinese corner" sessions for students of all ages and backgrounds. Other programs include photography workshops led by a professional photographers and periodic programs with speakers presenting on topics of interest related to traditional or contemporary China. Major annual events include a spring Peony and Bamboo Festival and a Kite Festival in August.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Our 2015 Peony and Bamboo Festival, April 25-26, drew nearly 1,800 people of all ages and backgrounds from all over the greater Puget Sound region. Family friendly cultural activities included a lion dance and martial arts performance, demonstrations of traditional Chinese painting, and bamboo flute music in the courtyard. Gardeners had the opportunity to purchase potted Luoyang tree peonies and unusual varieties of bamboo from specialty growers in Washington and Oregon. Educational talks and demonstrations covered care of peonies and bamboo, and the importance of peonies in Chinese culture. The event also featured art and craft vendors and delicious Chinese food.
The Garden is welcoming thousands of visitors from all over the region, including members of garden clubs and community groups, school classes, our neighbors in West Seattle, and from the Chinatown/International District. Goals for 2015 and beyond are to expand cultural and educational programs and workshops on a variety of topics to better serve the needs of people interested in gardens and China in general. Another goal is to continually enhance the garden site with expanded plantings. Both funding and volunteer support are needed to fulfill both goals.
Garden leaders are now laying the preparatory groundwork for a capital campaign for further construction. We encourage support from individuals, corporations, private foundations, and government. We also welcome volunteers of all interests and skills who would like to become engaged with our mission and help the Garden grow!