Monday, June 1, 2015

Eight Days of Wonder Schedule

Friday, June 5 - 3 to 4:30 p.m.
Ribbon Cutting & Grand Opening ceremony featuring dance performers as well as tours of the new garden, tea and treats and speeches from Marty Miller and Mayor Jeff Longwell.

Saturday, June 6 - 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Chinese Arts & Crafts for Children. Make your own Chinese dragon puppet and paper fans. Learn about fun painting techniques and more at craft stations throughout the garden and terrace.

Sunday, June 7 - 1:30 to 3 p.m.
Tai Chi & Tea in the Meadow. Learn the ancient art from local instructor Grace Wu. Follow the lesson up with delicious sips donated by The Spice Merchant.

Monday, June 8 - 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Paint the Towne will be presenting a Chinese painting tutorial by reservation only in the Lotus Hall. Wine and treats will accompany the easels and brushes. Also get a quick lesson on the art of Chinese Calligraphy.*

Tuesday, June 9 - 5:30 to 8 p.m.
Traditional Tuesday on the Terrace featuring tunes from Uche. Friends of Botanica will prepare a scrumptious Chinese meal for $7.

Wednesday, June 10 - 12:15 to 1 p.m.
Lunchtime Lecture highlights the skills and knowledge of talented Chinese artists Jennie Becker & Chiaw-Weai Loo with lunch being served at 11 a.m. Each will speak for 20 minutes on their specific style.

Wednesday, June 10 - 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Sister Cities Celebration. Chinese beer tasting. Ping Pong exhibition by Wichita Table Tennis Association. Learn more about Kaifeng and the Qingming scroll.

Thursday, June 11 - 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Family Game Night from 5: 30 to 7: 30 with Grace Wu teaching Kung Fu at 6:30 p.m. and Family Movie Night with Karate Kid beginning at sunset. No reservations required. Admission is $3 or free with membership.

Friday, June 12 - 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Chinese Tea tasting courtesy of Spice Merchant.*

Friday, May 29, 2015

Wichita Eagle Feature

Botanica ready to open its Chinese Garden of Friendship

By Annie Calovich - The Wichita Eagle Home & Garden - May 29, 2015

Visitors to Botanica can be transported to another continent in the new Chinese Garden of Friendship that will officially open there on June 5.

With its moon gates, foo dogs, roof beasts and 87-foot dragon, the garden is a tribute to Wichita’s sister city in China, Kaifeng (pronounced kye-FONG).

The traditional scholar garden of a third of an acre has plants, of course, but the emphasis is on structures, art, water and creatures – including real koi fish in the pond that have already spawned. The elements have been selected to reflect Chinese culture, including its spirituality and mythology, geography and history, language and art.

“People are amazed at the cultural impact, and that was our goal,” said Marty Miller, director of Botanica. Members of Wichita’s Chinese community were involved in the planning, and Miller visited Kaifeng in 2012. “That’s why we chose the scholar garden. Scholar gardens are pretty prevalent in Kaifeng.”

Read the full article by Annie at

Monday, May 25, 2015

Why Our Dragon has Five Claws

Some might be surprised to find a Dragon in Botanica’s Chinese Garden of Friendship. It makes more sense when one learns that unlike the Western idea of devilish dragons, Chinese tradition tells us the Dragon is benevolent, providing protection to those in need.

Representing power, wisdom and good fortune, the Dragon was oft adopted by the Emperor as a symbol of his imperial authority. In fact, several dynasties held that no one other than the Emperor was allowed to wear the five-clawed Dragon. Nobles were allowed to display dragons with four claws, while the commoner’s dragon only had three.

You might also notice our Dragon follows the curve of the stream. This is because, in addition to warding off evil spirits, the Dragon has the power to control water, rain, lakes, rivers and the sea. Folklore holds that the pearl in his mouth is the source of his power and allows him to ascend from the “Earthly World” represented in our Garden by Rose Wind Pavilion, to the “Heavenly World,” our Treasured Friend Pavilion.

Local Artist Jennie Becker sculpted over 200 unique porcelain clay dragon scales along with the head, legs and tail which, placed along a rolling wall, give the Dragon an organic presence and sense of movement.

Despite the Dragon’s benign image, the reverence he is given in Chinese culture confirms that it is unwise to deface or defile any image of a Dragon.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Treasured Friend Pavilion

The northwest part of the Chinese Garden of Friendship is the “dream,” or “heavenly,” world. It is believed that the Divine rule this area and have power and authority, in contrast to the southeast part. Designed as part of the house owner’s world view, it is seen as the reflection of the perfect universe in his or her mind, and therefore is a very personalized area.

Beyond the Thousand-Foot Bridge is the Treasured Friend Pavilion, an inviting place for gathering friends to discuss politics, poetry or philosophy. A group of “holy rocks” from the Kansas Flint Hills surrounds the Pavilion, representing the mountains of our sister city. Designed to promote inner peace, personal awareness, understanding and meditation, the Treasured Friend Pavilion also offers an ideal and private place to enjoy the entire garden.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Twitter Live Sneak Peak

Here is a sneak preview of Botanica's Chinese Garden of Friendship! This video was taken as part of a live broadcast on Twitter. You can follow the City on Twitter @CityofWichita! Learn more about the new garden and the opening events which will take place in early June at

Posted by City of Wichita- Government on Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Monday, May 11, 2015

A Thousand Feet

It might make one wonder to know the Chinese Garden has a “Thousand-Foot Bridge;” after all that would be longer than three American football fields!

The name of our bridge comes not from its actual length, but from its power to connect us to faraway places. It was named to represent the friendship with Kaifeng, the sister city of Wichita, and after a poem by Li Bai entitled “Farewell My Friend Wang Lun.”

For so the story goes: “One day, Li Bai goes on abroad. He is about to sail when there’s stamping and singing on shore. Oh! Here comes Wang Lun to see him off, who is Li Bai’s best friend. Li Bai is very excited to see his best friend at this leaving moment. But he is sad, too. So he can’t say a simple sentence. He knows that words can’t express their friendship. Although the Peach Blossom Pool is one thousand feet deep, it can’t match Wang Lun’s love for him.”

“I, Li Bai, sit aboard a ship about to go
When suddenly on shore your farewell songs overflow.
However deep the Lake of Peach Blossom may be,
It’s not so deep, O Wang Lun! as your love for me.”

*Translation courtesy of Jin Tang, Chinese Garden of Friendship Committee Member

Monday, May 4, 2015

Sounds of Heaven

The water flowing through the Chinese Garden of Friendship has a very soothing sound, hence called the Heavenly Sound Water. The first part of its Chinese name, Tian Lai Quan, means the “sound of Mother Nature.”

Monday, April 27, 2015

Qingming Mural

On the East wall of the Chinese Garden is a replica of "Along the River During the Qingming Festival," a painting attributed to the Song Dynasty artist Zhang Zeduan (1085-1145).

It captures the daily life and landscape of the capital, Bianjing (today's Kaifeng). The painting is considered to be the most renowned work among all Chinese paintings and has been called "China's Mona Lisa."

Monday, April 20, 2015

Rose Wind Pavilion

Overlooking the koi pond is the Chinese Garden’s principal building: the Rose Wind Pavilion. It is architecturally detailed in Song Dynasty style and will be the place for assembly, wedding photos and other activities. Traditionally, the southeast part of the Scholar-type Chinese garden is the housing area. This part is a living and working area; it connects the noisy, dirty "earthly world" with the pure, peaceful "dream world" of the garden.

The pillars of the Pavilions are red, as this color is believed to bring joy and good fortune. The roof tiles on the two pavilions, the entry and the wall all came from Louyang City in the Henan Province, China. There are a variety of “roof beasts” who, tradition tells us, protect the structures, especially from fire and in our climate, hopefully hail.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Planting Time

Botanica Gardeners are hard at work, planting and preparing the Chinese Garden of Friendship for the Grand Opening in June.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Who is Guarding the Garden

There may be more than one soul hesitant to enter Botanica’s Chinese Garden, and not just because of the rumored Dragon within. 

Flanking the Garden’s entrance are two formidable Imperial Guardian Lions, or Foo Dogs as we call them in the West. At first glance, the pair might seem identical, but look closer. Foo Dogs are traditionally displayed in pairs: the male to your right as you stand outside the Garden, the female to your left.

A ball under the male’s right paw, carved with the Flower of Life, symbolizes his authority over the world. 

On the left paw of the female you will find a cub, this is because she represents nurture and the cycle of life. Traditionally the female Foo Dog is said to protect those within the Garden, while the male guards the physical structure.

There is a stone pearl inside each Foo Dogs’ mouth, large enough to move around but not be removed. Anyone brave enough is welcome to put their hand inside the mouth of either beast and gently roll the stone, as to do so is said to bring good luck.

Monday, April 6, 2015

What's in a Window

Lotus Window
Peeking through the windows of Botanica’s Chinese Garden isn't only allowed, it’s encouraged. 

These aren't just ordinary windows either, they are decorative Leak Windows. “Of course they leak,” you say. “It’s Springtime in Kansas, it’s raining and there is no glass in them!” Yes, that’s true, but they are not called Leak Windows because they let in the rain, after all it’s a garden and rain is good, but rather because they allow light to leak into the garden and views of the garden to leak out into the world.

There are eleven unique Leak Windows, ten square and one round, designed by local artist Chiaw-Weai Loo and built by Jensen Design. These designs include the Four Gentlemen: plum, bamboo, chrysanthemum, and orchid; the Four Season Flowers: orchid (Spring), lotus (Summer), chrysanthemum (Autumn) and plum (Winter); as well as our Three Winter Friends: pine, bamboo and plum. Each design has a special meaning, however two are particularly significant to our Garden: the plum blossom and the chrysanthemum.

The Three Winter Friends: Pine, Plum Blossom and Bamboo.
Plum Blossoms, or “Prunus mume,” is the theme of the Chinese Garden. The love for prunus mume in China is traditional in that it stands for the unyielding integrity of a pure and honest person when facing adversity. Decorated with the design of prunus mume, the Chinese Garden expresses the admiration for prunus mume and freedom from vulgarity.

Chrysanthemum Window
Kaifeng, Henan, China, a sister city to Wichita, is known as the City of Chrysanthemum, hence the large round window that is part of the Dragon and the tenth square window are both chrysanthemum designs. From mid-October to mid-November every year, Kaifeng is abloom with several million pots featuring 1,000+ varieties of chrysanthemums, which are symbolic of nobility.

Leading up to the Grand Opening of the Chinese Garden of Friendship, we will highlight unique features of the Garden and their historical and cultural significance.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Tulips, Fairies and Forts

Calling all Future Architects, Engineers and Construction Specialists! Botanica is hosting a Fairy House Competition during their annual Tulips, Fairies and Forts Celebration. 

Simpson Construction Services has built a Chinese Fort especially for the occasion. Come see it on Saturday and enjoy Games, Scavenger Hunt, Fort Building, Bubbles and more. 

Visit for details and learn how to enter your own Fairy House for a chance to win a 1-year Botanica Membership... watch out for Fairies!

Let's Start Landscaping

Shrubs wait to be planted outside the Chinese Garden gates. Planting will be done in stages to prepare for the Garden's Grand Opening in June. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Be a part of the Garden of Friendship

We invite you to be a part of the garden by inscribing your name into design that will ornament the entryway of the Chinese Garden of Friendship. This entire entry wall will be a the blue and white porcelain mural of a traditional Chinese landscape to include mountains, ornamental trees, bamboo, hills, koi fish, lily pads and more. As pictured below, a calligraphic drawing of your name can be inscribed into the mural design:

Click here for more information and become part of the Garden. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Leak Windows

Each Leak Window has a unique design. The window on the far left is an Orchid.

Plum Blossom Leak Window

In the foreground, the wall awaits the Qingming Mural. On the right is the inside view of the Orchid Window. 

Simpson Construction Services team members install the final Leak Window

The Chrysanthemum is the city flower of Kaifeng, Wichita's sister city.