Chongming blossoms with color as China Flower Expo host
In the fresh breezes of spring, Chongming is blossoming into a flower mecca for the upcoming 10th China Flower Expo to be held on the island.
The Expo, from May 21 to July 2, aims to provide a creative flower celebration with the theme of “Blossom with a Chinese Dream,” and follow the island’s strategy for of low-carbon and sustainable development.
Famous for its ecological assets and 500-year history in flower cultivation, the district has striven to fulfill its “flower island” vision since the successful bid for the Expo in 2018.
It has been implementing a rural revitalization and ecological civilization strategies to boost its flower industry and the environment.
Covering nearly 10 square kilometers, the core Expo area is a peony-shaped field burgeoning with plum blossoms, orchids, lotuses and chrysanthemums.
The south and north sections are connected by flower bridges to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China in July.
The south section uses the Dongping National Forest Park, which has already been open to public since the Spring Flower Festival last month.
The north section is built with six main indoor pavilions which will be permanently open to the public.
The Fuxing Pavilion, Century Pavilion and Bamboo Pavilion are under facility testing and will be gradually decorated with plants and exhibits.
Indoor and outdoor pavilions
With less than 30 days to go before the opening, preparations for the Expo are in full swing.
The Expo will be run trial operations eight times before May 20 and expects to receive about 60,000 visitors a day.
The Fuxing Pavilion, which will stage creative flower exhibitions displayed by different provinces and regions in China, is expected to finish construction by the end of this month.
Currently, a total of 30 exhibitors have registered for the pavilion.
The Shanghai stage, for example, takes its inspiration from the magnolia, the city’s official flower. It has already completed 60 percent of its decorations.
Wang Qi, the Fuxing Pavilion’s operations director, said organizers will make sure the exhibitions are implemented safely and efficiently.
“The indoor exhibition stage can be constructed efficiently through the ‘green method’,” said Wang. “We are able to put the parts together directly inside the venue, which is much more convenient and quicker.”
The Century Pavilion is a flower-covered building, shaped like a butterfly on a peony flower. It is used for rare woodland flowers to create a unique exhibition center.
Plant arrangements for the Expo are expected to be completed by May 10.
A total of 160,000 square meters of seeds have already been planted for trees, while about 310,000 square meters of ground planting have also been finished.
More than 60,000 potteries and seedlings for public greenery have also been planted throughout the venue.
Gardener Wu Meixiang, 67, is a resident from nearby Hongqiao Village.
With a passion for growing flowers at home, she is excited about the upcoming Expo.
“It’s amazing that such an event could be held here and I can work for it,” said Wu. “The planting of flowers is very common among the locals here.”
The outdoor provincial and regional pavilions have finished construction and are currently under final flower arrangement.
According to Chen Zuoyu, chief of the Expo Service Center, the building schedule varies with the different features and nature of flower species of each pavilion.
Bougainvillea, for example, was installed earlier this month in the Shanghai Pavilion, while some plants grown on plateaus such as rhododendron in southwestern Guizhou Province will be brought out just days before the opening of the Expo.
To take care of species with demanding survival conditions, workers will create suitable environments with special soil and technologies. Emergency plans have also been made in case of severe weather.
“For the rainy season, each pavilion has prepared backup flowers which are stored in refrigerated warehouses nearby,” said Chen.
Chen said six pavilions, including the Shanghai and Guizhou pavilions, have already finished 80 percent of arrangements.
In addition to traditional regional and institutional pavilions, exhibitions with new themes will be featured, including company, friendship city and new breed pavilions.
By May 10, all of the exhibiting flowers will be on display and ready for visitors.
The Flower Expo Town and hotels, which covers an area of over 40,000 square meters, will provide accommodation and services for both visitors and staff during the Expo. It has finished construction and is currently under trial runs.
A total of 146 lodges transformed from shipping containers have been built at a former dairy farm at the Expo Town. Located just a few steps from the north gate of the Expo, they can accommodate over 1,000 staff and volunteers.
According to its management team, they will be temporarily kept after the Expo ends.
An emergency team will also be dispatched to ensure the operation of essential facilities during the Expo.
The transportation system of Chongming has been strengthened, including the introduction of special Expo bus and water lines, upgrading of trucking roads and expansion of stations.
A smart online system has also been developed to provide one-stop solutions for ticket purchase, parking, accommodation, catering and guided tours.
Visitors are encouraged to take public transportation to the Expo. Those driving need to book parking lots in advance.
Tickets are available through WeChat, the Shanghai Chongming App and other online platforms including Meituan and Ctrip, with a discount price of 100 yuan (US$14) per person before May 21.
A total of 3,000 volunteers have been recruited from 19 universities in the city and trained to ensure the safe and smooth operation of the Expo.
Coordinated services for the venues will be accelerated in the final preparation stage. Supporting facilities such as water, electricity and gas will be further assessed, as well as the maintenance of the ecological environment and roads around the Expo site.