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Nola & Michael Fenech

Exploring Lotus Cultivars of China
Page 1

by Nola and Michael Fenech
Mulbring NSW Australia
Click images to enlarge

We set out in June of 2009 to visit China at the peak viewing time for lotus. Our aim was to see some of the huge number of lotus cultivars grown there. We had previously been to China to see lotus growing wild in natural systems.* This was incredibly scenic and enjoyable but, as nursery owners, we now wanted to see how growers in China grow and display their lotus.

China has a long history of growing lotus covering some thousands of years. Over time plants have been developed that are far from their wild relatives in form, size and colour. These were what we wanted to see. Our guide for the trip was Grant Mitchell. He has traveled to China many times over 25 years and had many contacts there for us to meet.

Our first destination was Lotus Hill Resort in Panu. This is a massive reserve includes huge areas of ancient quarry turned into a water gardeners' paradise. We spent hours rambling around the grounds and attended a lotus-themed show. We were made most welcome by our hosts and began to realize how much there was to see.


Lotus Mountain quarry


Lotus Mountain ^ >



National Garden of Aquatic Vegetables, Wuhan Institute of Vegetable Science
Our next stop was Wuhan. Here we visited the edible water plant institute (National Garden of Aquatic Vegetables, Wuhan Institute of Vegetable Science) and were shown around by staff .They described their progress with large edible tuber lotus.

 
National Garden of Aquatic Vegetables,
Wuhan Institute of Vegetable Science


Also in Wuhan, at the Lotus Research Center, we could easily believe that they had over 400 varieties of lotus, from the tiniest to the huge, all gorgeous.

< Lotus Research Center >


The Wuhan Botanical Gardens are massive in scale. One interesting display is their enormous aquariums, over 2 meters (6 feet) tall and wide, each with displays of water plants growing as if in natural water bodies.


Wuhan Botanical Gardens ^ >


From Wuhan we traveled to the mountains and world heritage area of Tianmen Mountain Forest Park. Here towering mountains and awe inspiring cliff walks astounded us. These were the inspiration for Pandora of Avatar fame.  


A visit to a lotus park and nursery outside Zhangjiajie revealed acres of lotus of all shapes and sizes, and a lotus feast for lunch.
     
Our next stop was Hangzhou. Here their lakes, gardens and silk market were all good examples of typical Chinese culture and design, with many open spaces enjoyed by all.

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* Read about the 2007 Lotus Tour of China
in
WGI Online 2.4

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