Journey to a Javanese temple ruin. Explore traditional kitchen gardens under the watch of a Balinese rice goddess. Immerse yourself in Southeast Asian art, contemporary and ancient. Rest in a Thai pavilion — a replica water taxi stand — amid a lotus pool.
The Marcia and L. Bates Lea Asian Garden, originally designed by renowned landscape architect Made Wijaya (1953 – 2016), takes visitors along winding paths through garden “rooms” that capture the culture, spirituality, and botanical diversity of Southeast Asia. The jungle-like landscape alludes to humankind’s dependence on plants — veggie patches and fruit trees for nourishment; bamboo for shelter; and lotus flowers, temple trees, and sacred figs for the soul.
The Asian Garden abounds with ornamental plants as well, including extensive collections of crotons, crepe myrtle, and mussaenda. The growing magnolia holdings reflect the Garden’s conservation efforts; nearly 50 percent of these beautiful, flowering trees are threatened with extinction in the wild.