Near Groningen in the village Haren the Chinese Garden (The Hidden Empire Ming) is situated. This garden was built in 1995 after an example of the ancient gardens of Sushou, these gardens are known as the most beautiful gardens in China (The Classical Gardens of Suzhou are qualified as “World Heritage” by UNESCO).

Chinese experts designed and constructed the Chinese garden in Haren with materials from China. There is also an authentic Chinese teahouse to be seen.

The result is impressive. Walking through the galleries you can enjoy beautiful vistas, walk on the winding trails, enjoy the surroundings where plants are in bloom during every season. In addition, there are beautiful ponds and a waterfall.

Japanese gardens are more famous than the Chinese gardens. This is kind of odd, as when it comes to garden art the Japanese mainly took the Chinese as an example. This also explains some of the similarities between Chinese and Japanese gardens. But overall one can say that Japanese gardens are designed to look at, and Chinese gardens are designed to reside in.

The Chinese garden and it’s plants
For this garden they mainly chose for evergreen trees and shrubs. Examples include Magnolia, Pinus (pine species) and Ginkgo. In the spring the Rhododendrons, Peonies and Azaleas are in bloom, a beautiful sight with all those colors. In the summer there are many pots with brightly colored plants. To preserve color in the garden for as long as possible, these plants are replaced once they cease blossoming. For fall usually Chrysanthemums are chosen. Also Bonsai trees can be found in most Chinese gardens. Chinese call these bonsais “sculptures of life”. So during every season, something beautiful is to be seen.

Chinese garden philosophy
The way in which the various elements are brought together to a harmonious whole is very special. Through the whole garden galleries and pavilions are fused with nature in a beautiful way. At the waterside and the lovely soft moss you often see hard rocks. These rocks symbolize mountains. Because of this “The wise can enjoy the water and the good can find his happiness in the mountains.”

Also popular belief plays a part. At the entrance of buildings there is an extra threshold to keep evil spirits out. In corridors and bridges are often sharp corners inserted to obstruct evil spirits.

Everyone knows the pictures of Chinese dragons. Chinese treat them with respect as these dragons control the water streams and can prevent floods. Water is an important element in a Chinese garden. Whenever there is a large water feature installed you will find several small bridges in various forms. Also the shapes of these bridges contribute to the complete picture of the garden.