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Chinese Gardens | Blooming China

chinese gardens

Among the many things I love about China are its beautiful gardens. I have to admit that I envy its government’s effort in giving its people breathing spaces that are pretty & tranquil. Chinese gardens are a window into China’s rich history, art & culture.

chinese gardens

Most sidewalks in China are edged by flowering plants & trees.

Unlike in the Philippines, especially in Manila where parks are filthy, stinky & dangerous, the public parks in China are impressively well kept. Even the pocket gardens on their side streets & roundabouts are clean & filled with blooming flowers of the season.

Chinese gardens & parks are one of China’s ancient cultural treasures.

Garden art in China traces its roots about 3,000 years back in history. Palaces were adorned with miniature landscapes for entertainment, meditation & inspiration. They were reserved for the use of the imperial family, his court, scholars & poets.

chinese gardens

Chinese gardens are characterized by an asymmetrical display of pavilions hemmed by manicured bushes & flowers set against trees & willows. Ponds connected by short bridges section each part & are punctuated by assembled rocks.

chinese gardens

My childhood friend, Lirie at Shanghai Flower Port.

I visited China in spring. It was just the perfect season to see all their gardens scream with colorful flowers. Since I explored its cities mostly on foot, I stopped by the public parks to rest & chart my next destination on the map.

chinese gardens

Flower parks like this soften the cosmopolitan facade of Shanghai.

chinese gardens

My first encounter of real cherry blossoms & peach blossoms.

Catching Shanghai’s Cherry Blossom Festival in Gucun Park with my childhood friend, Lirie was very memorable. I experienced how the Chinese people give so much importance to taking care of their public parks.

chinese gardens

Pocket parks like this are common in Shanghai.

Even in dense cities like Beijing, Shanghai & Xiamen, parks are happily everywhere. These are the grounds where its ultra modern society meets the old China. Here, you’ll spot the locals doing tai chi, playing Chinese checkers or strumming traditional musical instruments & teenagers in their romantic moments.

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The park at the Temple of Heaven is a perfect venue to catch the oldies playing board games.

chinese gardens

Public parks are great places to see the daily lives of the locals.

If you’re traveling to China, make these lovely downtown parks & gardens a part of your itinerary.

Beijing

Being the seat of imperial China, Beijing is home to some of the lavish royal gardens in the country. Its vertical landscape is crouched by parks that soften the hustle & bustle of a mega capital city.

Jingshan Park

Jingshan Park gives a good aerial view of the Forbidden Palace. Photo credits: www.everthewanderer.com

Jingshan Park gives a good aerial view of the Forbidden Palace. Photo credits: www.everthewanderer.com

How to Get There

  • Take the north gate of the Forbidden City.
  • Take Bus 111, 124, 58 & get off at Jingshan Dongmen.

Beihai Park

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Once the imperial fairyland, Beihai imitates all the best gardens in China. Photo credits: www.enjoyinpeking.com

How to Get There

  • Take Bus 5, 101, 103, 109, 124, 685 & get off at Beihai Station.

Shanghai

If you think that Shanghai is nothing but buildings, check out its charming gardens & public parks for a gentle surprise. You’ll be amazed at how Shanghai wonderfully frames its sophisticated city with parks that offer secrets spots for quiet escapes.

Fuxing Park

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Fuxing Park was built by the French in 1909 & covers an entire city block. Photo credits: www.worlarchitects.com

How to Get There

  • Take Bus 2, 17, 36, 42 & get off at Yandang Street.

Gucun Park

chinese gardens

Weekend family picnics in Gucun Park is a favorite activity of the locals.

How to Get There

  • The best way is to get subway line 7. The station is right outside the park.

Suzhou

Talking about Chinese gardens is never complete without citing Suzhou. It is the home of classical Chinese garden art & has been replicated in many imperial palaces. Its gardens represent the finest form & earned it a UNESCO World Heritage Site distinction.

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The classical gardens of Suzhou in winter. Photo credits: www.qyjzs.com

How to Get There

  • When in Suzhou, take Bus 50, 55, 178, 202, 262 & get off at Suzhou Museum.
  • There are many parks in Suzhou but the best way to start is at the museum.

Xi’an

As the oldest imperial capital, Xi’an hosts a lot of beautiful gardens. But surprisingly, some of its rebuilt ancient gardens that infuse modern touches are also very pretty. Parks in Xi’an are also a perfect place to spot sweet prenuptial photo shoots.

Tang Paradise

chinese gardens

Tang Paradise with the majestic Big Wild Goose Pagoda at the background.

How to Get There

  • Take Bus 21, 22, 23, 24 & get off at Da Tang Fu Rong Yuan Station.

Old City Walls

chinese gardens

This park by the old city wall is a favorite spot for wedding pictorials.

How to Get There

  • If you are already in Xi’an, it’s not hard to miss the park. Just find the old city walls & it’s just right within.

Xiamen

Gulangyu in Xiamen keeps some of the city well-maintained gardens that frame its colonial buildings. Although a bit crowded especially during weekends, there are quiet spots in the island where you can laze around.

chinese gardens

Manicured lawns with blossoming flowers are a favorite spot for photos in Gulangyu.

How to Get There

  • Get yourself to Gulangyu first. The entire island is punctuated by parks & flower gardens.

 

chinese gardens

This gardener is threshing out the flowers of spring to replace it with summer blooms.

What one thing I learned about the gardens in China is that they replace the flowers according to season. They have a brigade of horticulturists that replant these flowers all year round. As soon as the flowers start to wither, the blossoms of the new season begin to color the streets.

chinese gardens

We know that China is a superpower nation. It is filled with billions of busy people, its landscape is filled with megatowers & its skies are polluted. But all of these are softened by the grace of its parks that embrace a different universe of its own.

-oOo-

To know more about popular Chinese gardens, please refer here.

    Comments ( 5 )

  • Whenever I get to hear the word “China”, honestly, I view it as a very busy and much populated country. I never imagined that China actually looked like what you’ve shared here. I’ve been longing to lay a single touch with cherry blossoms, and maybe in China that’ll happen. Thanks for this great post! Awesome shots! 🙂

    • Potpot

      Hi Jeff. Thanks a lot. While it may be true that the crowd in China is maddening (after all they’re the world’s most populous country), there are quiet spaces still. A great way to find these places are in their gardens. I was amazed too when I found out that these are really pretty garden art. Catch the blooms of China in spring time. They have a lot of cherry blossoms too (not just in Japan).

      Let me know when you plan to visit China, I may be able to help.

      Cheerio!
      Potpot

  • Honestly, I don’t really dream about going to China but your post changed my mind. I want to see those beautiful gardens myself.

    Coffeehan

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