The first blooms of spring make the heart sing: It's time to join the chorus!

Lu Feiran
Charles Dickens described March as a time when 'it is summer in the light and winter in the shade.' The souls of nature in this seasonal transition are spring flowers everywhere.
Lu Feiran
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As early spring weather unfurls in the city, most people are anxious to get out and view the annual flower blossoms that dispel the gloomy days of winter and portend warmer days ahead. Will a new wave of coronavirus cases in the city spoil the seasonal party?

Not necessarily. Some venues may be off limits now and it may be advisable to avoid the most crowded sites for viewing, but there are less popular places of equal beauty that might be a safer bet.

So it's time to get out and revel in the change of seasons. Here's Shanghai Daily's map for weekend excursions without hassles.

Parks abloom in the suburbs

Of all the countryside parks opened in recent years, Jiabei Countryside Park in Jiading District has never really gone viral and attracted the kind of Internet celebrity raves that draw big crowds to other parks.

While Jiabei park may not do much self-promotion, it does have a lot to offer. It's golden blanket of rapeseed flowers is stunning to see, and its forest of magnolias is a visual feast in white.

The first blooms of spring make the heart sing: It's time to join the chorus!

A purple welcome to Jiabei Countryside Park in Jiading District, where you can avoid large crowds and celebrate the change of seasons.

Meanwhile, suburban Fengxian District is probably the best place in the city to enjoy wintersweet blossoms. These hardy, native shrubs produce waxy, butter-yellow flowers – a cheery site in late winter.

Shanghai Haiwan National Forest Park in Fengxian has the city's largest display of ornamental plum trees, a forest of 40,000 bursting with pink and white flowers. It's easy to see why these blossoms have featured so prominently in traditional Chinese art.

About a 30-minute ride from the park is Qingxi Old Street. Unlike other touristy ancient towns in the city, the street is free of large crowds, except on national holidays.

Plum trees dot the yards and gardens of old residences there. Stop a moment to contemplate the ancient saying: "At a wall corner some plum trees grow; alone against the cold white blossoms blow."

The first blooms of spring make the heart sing: It's time to join the chorus!

Visitors can enjoy some tranquility in Qingxi Old Street, unlike other touristy ancient towns in the city.

When it comes to blossoms that welcome springtime, nothing beats cherry blossoms in the public mind.

If you want to enjoy them without elbowing through crowds of sightseers and photographers, avoid the most popular venues, like Gucun Park in Baoshan District, which typically hosts more than 1 million visitors during the blooming season.

Langxia Countryside Park in Jinshan District is an excellent Plan B.

The park has a new boulevard of cherry trees that stretches for 400 meters. More than 1,800 Yoshino cherry trees, which are considered by many the most beautiful breed, will be displaying their first flowers this spring.

The boulevard is part of a vast forest in the park, where visitors can also jog or cycle among the flowered lanes. For dog and cat owners, a pet playground is available near the park, and there's a large lawn area for family picnics.

The berry best destinations

Spring also heralds the start of seasonal fruits, and strawberries are always the first to be ready for picking in Shanghai.

Baihe Town in Qingpu District, dubbed "the hometown of strawberries," is an ideal spot for tasting these luscious fruits.

More than 2,000 families in the town make their living growing strawberries, producing more than 8,000 tons a year.

After decades of research and experiments, the town boasts two superior breeds: Red Face and Akihime – both introduced from Japan.

The two breeds have slightly different tastes. Red Face is sweet with just a tang of sour, while Akihime, also known as the "creamy strawberry," is very tender with a slight milky flavor.

Among domestic breeds, Fenyu, which literally means "pink jade," is one of the most popular. It is fast growing, has strong disease resistance and produces a very delicious berry. The variety is now widely grown across China.

The first blooms of spring make the heart sing: It's time to join the chorus!

Why not sample the luscious strawberries of Baihe Town in Qingpu District?

Strawberries grown in greenhouses are the first up for harvest. The hothouses are redolent with the enticing sweet fragrance of strawberries, which are grown on long shelves set up to make maximum use of air circulation.

One of the most visited venues in Baihe Town is Shumei Fruits. In addition to the strawberries on offer, the site provides a tranquil setting of ponds, lawns, flowers and a wisteria corridor that rivals many suburban parks.

It's a great place for strolling to enjoy all the sensual delights of springtime.

Jiading District offers some sites where you can pick your own strawberries.

Inside Jiabei Countryside Park, Baiguo Garden is dedicated to fruit and vegetable-picking. Four greenhouses of Red Face strawberries are now available for harvest. Some estimates project that the picking season could last into April.

If you go

Jiabei Countryside Park

The nearest Metro station is Jiading West Station on Metro Line 11. From there, visitors can take a taxi to Gate 6 of the park.

Qingxi Old Street

No Metro line reaches Qingxi Old Street directly. The nearest station is the Fengxian Xincheng Station on Line 5, which is about a 20-minute ride away.

Langxia Countryside Park

Visitors can take the Lianlang Special Bus at the Lianhua Road Station of Line 1 to the park.


Because of the recurrence of coronavirus in parts of Shanghai, it's prudent to check that parks are open before heading out. Many require advance reservations on their WeChat official accounts.

And, yes, it's still recommended to wear a mask when in indoor settings at public venues.

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