Spring is sprung!

By Huang Lanlan Source:Global Times Published: 2015-3-2 19:13:01

Shanghai welcomes the beautiful early bloomers

By Huang Lanlan

Though Shanghai is still encountering chilly days, there are flowers now blooming that prove spring is just about here for real. Plum blossoms, magnolias and many other early spring flowers are blossoming in parks and gardens, bringing color and fragrance to the city.

The Chinese saying, "spring flowers and autumn moon," suggests beauty and the good life, the best of both worlds. Flowers have played an important role in traditional Chinese culture and in the everyday life of the people. Here are some of the spring flowers that have been hailed in Chinese culture over the years and some of the places where you can find them in this big city.

Photo: IC


Visitors enjoy viewing the plum blossoms at the Fengxian Haiwan Forest Park. Photo: IC


Plum blossom

Originating in southern China some 3,000 years ago, the plum blossom is one of the most famous flowers in the country. It is also known as one of the four junzi (gentlemen or noble ones) often referred to in Chinese art - the other three are the orchid, the chrysanthemum and the bamboo. These have come to symbolize bravery, integrity and modesty.

Chinese people appreciate the plum blossom and regard it as a noble flower that braves the cold. In 1929, the then government designated the plum blossom as the national flower of The Republic of China (1912-1949). Today the flower can be seen on China's 50-cent coins.

Plum blossoms are now blooming throughout Shanghai. At Century Park in Pudong New Area, the annual plum blossoms festival, which runs until March 31, has attracted thousands of visitors to the 170,000-square-meter Plum Blossom Garden. Thousands of plum trees with their red flowers have turned the garden into a huge rich red natural brocade. From a distance, the garden can look like rosy clouds in a summer sky.

Near the garden in the park there is a plum blossom lane with trees planted along both sides. This small lane is now flooded with small white blossoms as though it were covered with snowflakes.

Another popular haunt for plum blossom enthusiasts is the Daguanyuan Garden in suburban Qingpu district. This quiet, elegant garden, which boasts some 40 varieties of plum trees, is being brought to a fragrant life by 4,000 trees blossoming around its pavilions, terraces, bridges, rivers and stone laneways.

Photo: IC


Visitors take photographs under the cherry trees in Gucun Park. Photo: IC

Cherry blossoms

Cherry blossoms came from the Himalayas. It is said that Chinese people have been planting cherry trees for more than 2,000 years since the Qin (221BC-206BC) and Han (206BC-AD220) dynasties.

Around 1,000 years ago, cherry trees were introduced to Japan, and later the blossom became Japan's national flower. Cherry blossoms symbolize the transience of beauty and purity in many Asian countries and regions.

At present, several varieties of early cheery blossoms can be found in the city's downtown and suburban parks. At the Shanghai Botanical Garden in Xuhui district, some 800 cherry trees are on show in the garden's 10 cherry blossom viewing areas, including the Cherry Tree Avenue. From late February to late April, visitors can enjoy the spectacular beauty of more than 60 varieties of cherry blossom trees blooming throughout the garden.

There are several other good places to catch cherry blossoms in the city - Luxun Park in Hongkou district and Gucun Park in Baoshan district will join with other Shanghai parks to present the Shanghai Cherry Blossom Festival later this month, when most cherry blossoms are at their finest.

Photo: IC


Photo: IC

White magnolia

White magnolias are usually seen in the early spring in the city. Designated as Shanghai's city flower in 1986, the white magnolia is a favorite of many local residents with its startlingly pure white flower and delicate fragrance. It is a symbol of a pioneering and progressive spirit.

You can find lots of white magnolia trees at downtown parks and gardens, including People's Park, Xujiahui Park and the Shanghai Botanical Garden. They are also often found on streets, campuses and residential compounds across the city and the trees, which are covered by cup-shaped white blossoms, look extremely beautiful on sunny days under clear blue skies. White magnolias usually bloom until early May.

Photo: CFP


Photo: CFP

Oriental paperbush

The oriental paperbush, a small yellow flower which blossoms on a small tree, is not as well-known as other spring flowers. It is also known as "knot flower" - it produces long pliable tendrils that can be tied or knotted like ropes or string.

Traditionally the bark from this tree was used to make paper but in China, the oriental paperbush is regarded as the "love tree" with its tying-the-knot symbolism. People believe that a couple's love and happiness can last forever if they both tie tendrils from the oriental paperbush together.

At Zhongshan Park in Changning district, visitors can see the paperbush blossoms flowering beside a small lake. The small yellow flowers can look like twinkling stars are covering the branches. If you look closely you can find that already some lovers have been tying plant tendrils together.

Oriental paperbushes can also be seen at Chenshan Botanical Garden in Songjiang district and Guyi Garden in Nanxiang town.

For viewing

Century Park

Flowers in bloom: plum blossoms, cherry blossoms

Opening hours: 7 am to 6 pm

Add: 100 Jinxiu Road

Admission: 10 yuan ($1.59)

Shanghai Botanical Garden

Flowers in bloom: white magnolias, cherry blossoms, plum blossoms, bluebells

Opening hours: 7 am to 5 pm

Add: 111 Wulong Road

Admission: 15 yuan

Chenshan Botanical Garden

Flowers in bloom: oriental paperbush, white magnolias, plum blossoms, tulips

Opening hours: 8 am to 5:30 pm

Add: 3888 Chenhua Road

Admission: 60 yuan

Posted in: Metro Shanghai, City Panorama

blog comments powered by Disqus