Hangzhou bathed in scent of roses as the city readies for Asian Games
At present, out-of-town visitors may marvel at Hangzhou's visual feast of roses as millions of pots of pink, red and yellow flowers bloom along the city's elevated roads.
To celebrate the vibrant rose season and welcome the approaching Hangzhou Asian Games, the First Roses Exhibition is underway in seven venues, with the Guozhuang Pavilion as the main one.
The pavilion displays more than 200 varieties of roses. The highlight of the exhibition is the Lady Endian (恩钿), named after Jiang Endian to honor her contribution to the cultivation of roses.
Lady Endian is red when it blossoms at first but turns rosy later. The diameter of the blooms can reach 15 centimeters and it has pleasant perfume. During the past two decades, it has won top prizes in rose competitions worldwide.
Most rose species are native to China. Jiang devoted her life to producing over 70 cultivars, which largely enriched the varieties available for greening cities.
Organizers also set up a space for flower arrangements, which present traditional Chinese classical aesthetics. Some of the arrangements float on a pond on rafts made of woven bamboo strips, adding a romantic touch to the exhibition.
For years, Guozhuang in the West Lake scenic area has been the mecca for flower aficionados, as the annual displays of orchids, plum blossoms and lotuses are considered the peak of horticulture with rare varieties and bonsais on display.
In another venue, Hangzhou Garden, about 40,000 roses are in bloom at the 1-hectare Shihua Square. The highlight is the cultivar Peace, which was named in 1945 to commemorate the triumph of World War II. The Peace rose is believed to be one of the most fragrant roses in the world. It first blooms with pink edges and ivory at the bottom of its petals. As the blossom ages, the color expands until the whole flower turns pink.
Located next to Yanggong Causeway across the West Lake, Hangzhou Garden is not as popular as the highly favored Taiziwan Park or the traditional Hangzhou Botanical Garden. However, it is not inferior to any vantage points in the city for viewing flowers and plants. It has been chosen by locals as one of the best flower views in the city at present.
The exhibition is co-hosted by the Hangzhou Landscaping and Cultural Heritage Bureau, West Lake Scenic Area Management Committee, and Gongshu, Xihu, Binjiang, Xiaoshan, Yuhang and Linping districts. The collaboration hopes to add more roses to the cityscape to enhance the quality of residents' lives.
Hangzhou government began to plant roses in the city in 2009. The local departments looked for varieties across the country, visiting breeding bases in Jiangsu and Henan provinces and finally selected three rose types to plant along the Shangtang and Zhonghe elevated roads.
In 2012, residents were delightfully surprised to see the roses come into full blossom, and Hangzhou began to grow roses on a large scale along the elevated roads since then.
The present-day rose numbers might sound hard to believe but they have been built up over 13 years. Varying according to the different cultivars, the flowers can keep blooming for months.
In contrast to short-lived annuals that require workers to remove and replace them when they die back, roses are perennial plants that can bloom every year.
Once they are planted, workers only need to water them using automatic irrigation systems and spray pesticides periodically.
Roses can also cope with winter temperatures that may drop below freezing and the low bushes do not impact driver's visibility. They are the ideal flowers for use in urban greening.
Today, Hangzhou ranks No. 1 in south China for its number of roses.
Over the past three years, hundreds of delegations from other provinces have visited to learn about growing roses from Hangzhou. Many cities have drawn on Hangzhou's experience and are now planting roses alongside their roads.
If you go:
Date: Through May 9, 8am-5pm
Admission : 10 yuan
Address: 28 Yanggong Causeway
The other venues are free.