I have been back from China for five days, and I finally got sometime this weekend to go through some pictures I have taken in China, and show you here as promised :)
We majorly visited two cities in China: WuXi in Jiangsu province (Province is equivalent to the State in US) on the east coast, and ChengDu in Sichuan province. To give you an idea what are their relative locations in China, I included a China map with different provinces' boundaries marked, I marked WuXi and ChengDu on the map in red circles with the text above them.
|This Map is the Courtesy of http://www.asiaonline.com/|
We flied to Shanghai from Detroit, US, and then we had a car pick us up to Wuxi, which is only one and half hour drive from Shanghai.
Wuxi is the hometown for both my husband and myself. We both grew up there and had the schools from kindergarten to high school before we went to colleges. Our first jobs were also in Wuxi before we moved to US. After my parents retired, they moved to their own hometown which is another small city close to Shanghai. My in-laws have houses in both Wuxi and Chengdu. Since the summer in ChengDu is milder, my in-laws usually spend the Summer and Fall in Chengdu, and Winter and Spring in Wuxi. So, since my in-laws were in Chengdu this time, they let us stay in their house in Wuxi, and my parents came to meet us by staying in my relative's house in Wuxi. It turned out this arrangement is very convinient since we also got to meet our friends in Wuxi without traveling.
While in China, I made a post about the garden in my in-laws community. If you are interested in what a resident area could look like in China, you can read more in that post. Here is just one picture from that post.
Today, I am going to show you the Lake TaiHu and Turtle Head Islet Park we visited when we were in Wuxi.
Lake Taihu is the third largest freshwater lake in China with a surface area of about 2,338 square kilometers (about 902 square miles). The formation of Lake Taihu is due to Yangtze River and Qiantang River's accumulated mud which blocked the ancient bay.
The lake crosses Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, where 48 islets of different sizes and 72 peaks and peninsulas along the lake combine to form a panorama of great natural beauty.
The best place to view the beautiful Lake Taihu is on the Turtle Head Islet (Yuantouzhu, 鼋头渚) Park located in Wuxi. Turtle Head Islet is an islet stretching into the lake, whose shape is really like the head of a turtle protruding from the water.
I remember the numerous times that I visited it together with my family and as school trips when I was a kid. This was the first time we took kids to see this beautiful park, and was also the first time both my husband and I visited it since we left China 16 years ago.
Turtle Head Islet Park is mainly made of the natural landscape of Lake Taihu, augmented by man-made additions. Various typical Chinese garden architecture, such as bridges and pavilions, are strategically placed among the trees, shrubs and flowers. All combines to make the park beautiful and elegant.
Compare to the old time, I was even more impressed by the beauty this park can offer this time, or maybe just because now I am into the gardening and know how to appreciate it more?
This old fisherman statue is situated in the middle of the water. Are you able to see the fishing rod in his hand? His expression on his face looks so relaxing, and enjoying the peaceful time.
The inner lotus pond, weeping willow trees are blended with the lake view so seamlessly...
Familiar daylilies graced the path along the lake ...
I always love the waving effect of reed plants (Chinese name: 芦苇) in the water when wind is blowing.
There are lots of Cherry trees planted along the two sides of the road. In the spring, the beautiful cherry blossoms attract so many tourists from the different places all over China and even other countries.
The following scene is a famous spot of Turtle Head Islet Park. The Chinese phrase carved on the cliff is "包孕吴越", coming from a Calligrapher in Qing Dynasty, about 120 years ago. This phrase praises the magnificent Lake Taihu has been nurturing the people in both Jiangsu and ZheJiang provinces.
As I mentioned earlier that in addition to the natural scene of Lake TaiHu, this park also has lots of trees, shrubs and flowers.
Bamboos can be seen everywhere. Now you know why I love the bamboos so much. Even I can not grow bamboos in my small Florida Garden, I always dream someday that I can have a big enough garden that I can include Bamboos into the landscape.
There is a small garden in the park that has indoor space for tropical plants and orchids, and outdoor space to showcase more Chinese garden design.
This trumpet creeper vine is thriving in its environment... Looks like it has been there for a while.
Common name: Trumpet Creeper, Trumpet Vine
"Charmed Wine Oxalis" is used for ground cover among the bamboos along the path. I also have this beautiful ground cover in my garden.
Even there were not much orchids in display at that time, I was glad that I saw many familiar tropical plants here...
This Medinilla magnifica is new to me. The pendulous flowers look very attractive. I looked it up and saw people also grow this in Florida. I think this one will be on my watch list.
Outside the orchid room, clustered bamboos , the stone steps and the arch door opening (also called moon gate) led to another small area of the garden. The Chinese characters above the moon gate means "Tranquil and Fragrant" (幽芳. Traditional Chinese reads from right to left).
In Chinese private garden, you will almost be certain to see some poetic inscriptions on such doorways. This is also one of the five elements of traditional Chinese garden design. The other four elements are: Rocks, Water, Plants and Architecture (pavilions, covered corridors , bridges, often in zig-zag design). I have shown you some of those elements in my previous post about Chinese resident area garden, and I will show you more in the future posts that how these five elements are used in the Chinese garden design.
Many of you must find the following plants are so familiar! Just love those bleeding heart vines!
This is the hosta that unfortunately we can not grow in Florida...
|Hosta plantaginea ascherson|
Chinese Common name: 白玉簪 (White Jade Hairpin)
Indian blanket flowers, corn flowers, and ... What are the names of the flowers in the back?
Here are tow close-up views of those flowers. Are they Justicia carnea , or by common names Brazilian plume, or flamingo flowers??
That was a very pleasant visit for my family, especially I got to enjoy the beauty of the Lake Taihu and Turtle Head Islet Park once again with my parents like when I was a little girl. Only this time, I also have my husband and two boys joining me!
I have to admit that writing this post is not very easy. Not only that I have to choose from so many pictures I have taken, but also I want to give you more accurate information about Chinese garden design, which I have taken for granted for so many years and really didn't know what is the best way to describe it.
Hope you are not bored with many pictures in this post, since there are more coming about my China trip!