Normandale Community College's Japanese Garden was built by the Bloomington Affiliated Garden Clubs. Plans for the garden began in 1967 when the college campus was still being developed. The garden clubs raised the funds to build the garden while the college donated two acres of land, including a portion of Green Heron Pond.
From the groundbreaking ceremony in 1972 to the dedication ceremony in 1976, many individuals and companies donated money, time, and materials to construct the garden.
Step by step, the swampy area behind Normandale Community College was transformed into a beautiful Japanese Garden. A photographic history tells the complete story below, including the original hand-drawn blueprints by chief architect Takao Watanabe, a professional garden architect from Tokyo, Japan, who was critical to the success of the project.
More than 300 plants, shrubs, and trees have been placed in the Normandale Community College Japanese Garden. Because of climate differences, they are not plants that would be used in gardens in Japan. The architect and gardeners chose Minnesota-hardy plants that can survive extremely cold winters.
The Garden does, however, exemplify the restrained use of flowering plants that is traditional in Japan. Variations in tones and textures of green predominate, and woody plant materials are trimmed or pruned to specific aesthetic goals. The paths have been tarred to make the garden more accessible.
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