A sea of pink muhly grass at the Shanghai Chenshan Botanical Garden. [Photo/WeChat ID: sheshanlvyou]
The Shanghai Chenshan Botanical Garden is located in the Shanghai Sheshan National Tourist Resort in Shanghai's Songjiang district and covers an area of 207 hectares, making it the largest botanical garden in East China.
The garden area used to be occupied by old residential compounds, rice-farming plots and a limestone cave before the local government in 2004 decided it would become a place to grow and study plants.
Today, Chenshan is a national 4A-level scenic spot and member of the international community of botanical gardens, as well as a leading facility dedicated to the collection, conservation and cultivation of plants in China.
It has a collection of more than 15,000 species and varieties of plants from 71 countries and regions, including some rare and endangered species. The plants are labeled with their names and identifying characteristics.
Every year, about 1 million people visit the garden area, which hosts seasonal blossom and harvest festivals and other events. The picturesque venue has also won several awards, including the 2020 National Award of Botanic Garden Excellence in memory of botanist Chen Fenghuai, and the Landscape Institute Award in 2018 for its Quarry Garden, which was reconstructed from a stone mine.
The garden consists of three different sections: one for exhibitions, one for plant conservation, and one for buffering.
The exhibition zone is divided into four major areas for North American plants, tropical plants, ornamental grass, and small animals, respectively. It also features a display greenhouse, which is its most popular area.
The greenhouse covers an area of 12,608 square meters and is divided into three parts: a tropical flower house, a sand plant house, and a rare plant house.
The tropical flower house features mountains in the background and has more than 600 species of plants, including traveller's trees, frangipani, and talipot palms.
The sand plant house imitates environments in Australia, Africa, and the United States, showcasing more than 1,000 species of sand plants, including Namibia's welwitschia (Welwitschia bainesii), the saguaro cactus tree (Carnegiea gigantea), and the pencil cactus (Euphorbia tirucalli).
The rare plant house is divided into a life zone and an evolution zone. The former mainly focuses on how plants survive in complex and varied natural environments, while the latter showcases the evolution of plants. More than 1,400 species of plants are on display there.
A new pavilion featuring carnivorous plants opened in Shanghai's Chenshan Botanic Garden on New Year's Day in 2021. Located in the greenhouse for tropical plants, the new pavilion showcases about 500 carnivorous plants of more than 150 different varieties.
Every summer, a summer camp and night tours for families will be held in the Shanghai Chenshan Botanical Garden. The camp offers courses with outdoor activities to teach people about plants, and holds team contests and games. The courses also broadcast 4D movies to help children learn about plants and nature in an engaging way. The activities also allow families to explore nature at night, to help them learn more about the diversity of insects and their habitats, and to promote ecological protection. The family tour is guided by experts and consists of visits to three botanical museums to learn about the growth of rare and sandy plants, tropical flowers and fruits at night.
Chenshan has also been hosting an annual waterlily show. Last year, more than 10,000 plants from over 300 species were exhibited and the exhibition, which had five chapters, offered exhibits in water tanks and ponds across the garden.
The Chenshan Grassland Music Festival is also a major annual event held at the garden. The two-day event, which consists of two concerts each day, is one of the biggest and most popular open-air classical music festivals in China. The event attracts more than 5,000 people each day.
Shanghai Chenshan Botanical Garden. [Photo/WeChat ID: sheshanlvyou]
An aerial view of Chenshan Botanical Gardens in Shanghai. [Photo by Gao Erqiang/China Daily]