WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 24, 2011) – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and China’s Ambassador to the United States Zhang Yesui signed a Memorandum of Understanding today to construct a classical Chinese garden at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. The China Garden project has its roots in a 2004 gift from the Government of China and represents an opportunity to build a permanent tribute to U.S.-China relations in our nation’s capital.
“Today’s signing ceremony illustrates the commitment our two countries have to horticulture, science and the arts,” said Vilsack. “This garden will serve as a testament to our countries’ celebrated cultural histories and will delight visitors for generations to come. I am pleased to join Ambassador Zhang and Madame Jiang Zehui to help turn this symbol of bilateral friendship into a reality.”
The USDA is responsible for site preparation and the long term maintenance of the Garden. In the 2008 Farm Bill, Congress authorized construction of the China Garden on 12 acres of the National Arboretum.
The newly formed National China Garden Foundation, a non-profit organization, will champion the garden and raise funds for construction and maintenance. Madame Jiang Zehui is the executive director for the Chinese side of the China Garden.
The garden is expected to provide a focal point for cultural activities as well as a vibrant link between the United States and China. As a living classroom, it will provide a venue ready for the development of cultural and educational activities, and celebrations of major events like the Chinese New Year and full moon festivals.