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Jubilant display of living colour on China's National Day

Soldiers lay flower baskets at the Monument to the Peoples' Heroes in Tiananmen Square in Beijing yesterday, China's National Day. Xu Jingxing/China Daily

Publication Date : 02-10-2012


This year's flower terrace in Tiananmen Square is the most ambitious ever.

The Chinese capital has come up with its most elaborate floral display yet to celebrate the 63rd birthday of the People's Republic of China this year.

A flower terrace, including a giant oval flower basket, 50 metres in diameter and 13 metres high, will be a colourful backdrop to the celebrations in Tiananmen Square.

And the oval-shaped flower basket will look even more impressive at night thanks to the in-built lighting effects, according to the Beijing landscape and forestry bureau.

The floral basket contains more than 50 species of flowers including traditional Chinese blooms such as peonies, lilies, peach blossom and Chinese wisteria. Some of the species on display were sourced as seeds overseas, from countries such as the United States, the Netherlands, Germany and Japan, then cultivated in China.

"As our breeding technologies are getting more mature, the flowers that finally get into the flower basket will definitely be among the best worldwide with their uniform shape and rich colours," said Jin Zhiyong, a gardener from the Beijing Florascape Co. Ltd., the company providing the flowers for the display.

The company has been cultivating and researching flowers and other plants since 1956.

"Timing is very important, as you have to make sure all the flowers bloom at the same time during the holiday period," Jin said.

Beautiful blooms

Modern irrigation devices will ensure the flowers look their best for the display as they help flowers to remain in bloom for longer.

Lan Hailang, an engineer with the Beijing Florascape Co. Ltd., said all the potted flowers are fitted with a needle that delivers water to the roots, which helps them stay fresh for as long as half a year.

Lan is one of the thousands of landscape architects, floriculturists and gardeners and others involved in producing the annual floral display, which has been a popular part of the National Day celebrations since 1986.

Lan said other advances have also helped the floral displays become more and more spectacular since the first simple display of plants and flowers in Tiananmen Square and along Chang'an Avenue in 1986.

According to Lan, the plug trays used today were an important development that allowed more complex floral designs to be achieved.

"The plugs are 11 centimetres in diameter, small enough to create complicated designs, as the plugs mean each individual flower is like a pixel in a computer monitor," he said.

Such modern technologies now make it possible to do designs that used to be only wishful thinking in the past. While the addition of music and lighting effects has turned them into bewitching entertainments of colour and sound.

"We have more three-dimensional and more complex and elaborate displays nowadays thanks to the advances in gardening technology and the development of our country," Lan said.

"No matter what the blueprint we can bring it to life," he added.

But that doesn't mean designing the floral displays for the National Day celebrations has become any easier, as the public now expects each design to be better than the one before.

"It's hard to cater to all tastes," Lan said. "You have to satisfy almost everyone, which is impossible."

May and June are the busiest months for designers, when they work day and night drawing massive blueprints for designs, of which only one will be brought to life.

To produce the best design, designers seek the advice and opinions of scholars, experts, officials and the public.

"It has been a wonderful process progressing from the simple flower display of 1986 to the magnificent three-dimensional floral displays we see nowadays," Lan said.

"Who knows what will come in the next 20 years."

Whatever the design the public looks forward to seeing each new design. Li Zilu, a 26-year Beijing resident, said the flower terrace helps create a joyous atmosphere every year.


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