So Minnesota: Normandale Japanese Garden |

So Minnesota: Normandale Japanese Garden

Joe Mazan
Updated: August 23, 2021 10:30 PM
Created: August 23, 2021 05:28 PM

In Bloomington, there's a beautiful garden that's considered a hidden gem.

The Normandale Japanese Garden has been around for nearly a half-century. It's located behind Normandale Community College.

"It's a great place, and Minnesota is really lucky to have it," tour guide Steve Cope said.

Dedicated in 1976, the Normandale Japanese Garden was built as a cooperative effort between the college and Bloomington Garden Clubs.

More than 300 plants, shrubs and trees have been placed in the garden but, because of the climate, they aren't plants that would be used in gardens in Japan.

Tokyo landscape architect Takao Watanabe donated his services and designed the garden.

"He was very specfic of how he wanted it to look," Cope said. "He said, 'Put this tree here,' 'don't let it get any higher than this, any wider than this.' We have tried to stay in the guidelines that nature allows that he laid down for that."

The Normandale Japanese Garden is run by a nonprofit foundation. It's open 365 days per year and about 50,000 people every year visit the spectacular garden setting.

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