This morning we traveled to the northeast corner of the city to visit the Beijing Botanical Garden. Our primary hosts were Kang Wang, Head of the Education Department and Yu Wei, Head of Floral Center, but we also had a great opportunity to visit with several other staff representing the garden’s horticultural display, nursery/ greenhouse, and research departments.
Started in 1956, the Beijing Botanical Gardens now has more than 400 acres of outdoor plantings including special collections of ornamental peaches, magnolias, crabapples, roses, lilacs, and peonies. One of the highlights was China’s most famous stand of Dawn Redwood, Metasequoia glpytostroboides , which the garden grew from seed in 1972.
We toured the conservatory at Beijing Botanical Garden. First opened on New Years Day of 2000, these three hothouses included impressive displays of cacti, orchids, palms, and many other tropical plants. We were also given an amazing behind-the-scenes tour of the production houses and nursery facilities.
Back outside, we were amazed by the gardens exhibition on penjing, the art of creating a miniature landscape in a container, and marveled at a 1,300 year-old trained gingko tree. We also really enjoyed the beautiful architecture, statuary, and plantings around the garden’s Temple of the Sleeping Buddha.