Beijing Botanical Garden (Běijīng Zhíwùyuán北京植物园), lying in the foot of the West Hill of Beijing, has by tradition been engaged in the conservation of the native flora, especially plants from northern, northeastern and northwestern China. Its attention is also concentrated on
research, public education and recreation. 300 ha are currently opened to the public, including the living plant collections, the historic sites, a nature reserve. Excellent displays are made monthly in the main conservatory, penjing (bonsai) garden, the arboretum and 14 outdoor gardens: tree-peony garden, peony garden, rose garden, ornamental peach garden, lilac garden, crabapple-contoneaster garden, magnolia garden, fall color garden, perennial garden, bamboo garden and mume flower garden. There are more than 4 million visitors every year from domestic and oversea.
Beijing Botanical Garden was founded in 1956 with financial support from central government. After ten-year rapid development, it had suffered a big pain from the Culture Revolution for another 10 years. During the recent 20 years, lots of projects were carried on the garden, especially after 1990. New collection areas are extended and more plant taxa are collected at present.
Highlights on collection
Several gardens are very outstanding in China because the selective collections are the best sites for research and education. Most gardens are also very instructive for local people to understand botany and horticulture. Actually, every garden is excellent if you are interested in the collection.
About 700 rose Cultivars are grown in the rose garden, covering an area of 7 ha. With a European style, a hidden fountain and a cascade make an open theatre with hybrid tea roses, miniature roses, antique roses and wild roses along the pathway.
Ornamental peach is very decorative by Chinese tradition. The ornamental peach Garden was completed at the beginning of 1980’s, covering an area of 3.4 ha. 70 cultivars are collected at present. Flowering plum，forsythia and cherries sent by Japanese friends can be found in the garden too. Rich multicolored flowers cover the entire hillside during blooming spring. A new breeding program is carried on for cultivars with new color and early blossom.
China is believed to keep the most species of lilac in the world. Lilac has long been grown as one of the ornamental plants. The lilac garden, covering an area of 3.5 ha, was first completed in the end of 1950’s and then extended at the beginning of 1980’s. 22 species and cultivars of lilac are collected here currently. The blooming time may last 6 weeks depending on different varieties. We are hunting new cultivars from North America & Europe and looking forward to financial support for the project.
The arboretum is also a highlight in the garden. It is composed of conifers, maples, poplars, magnolias and many other tree species. The woods make much relaxation and comfort for visitors. It is also one of biggest conifer collection in China.
Sleeping Buddha Temple, originally named Doushuai Temple, was built during the Tang dynasty (618-907). Large renovations were carried out during the Yuan (1271-1368), Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911), and the temple was renamed Shifanpujue Temple in the twelfth year of the emperor Yongzheng (1734). Today, however, the temple is commonly known as Wofo Temple because it houses a bronze statue of the sleeping Buddha, founded in 1321.The temple complex contains four halls and courtyards with a colored glass screen, a pool and a stone bridge in front of them, and Shouan Mountain rising behind them. The delicate bronze statue is a good example of Chinese arts achievement. In 2000, Wofo Temple was accepted as one of the National historic sites.
The main Conservatory, one of the biggest projects in Beijing, was setup in 1999 with an area of 6500 square meters for display. Totally 3000 taxa of plants were grown in crystal sections, including rainforest house, cacti & succulent house, orchid &carnivorous house, alpine house, foliage plant house and flower show house. The features of the rainforest are displayed in the tropical rainforest house, such as the plank buttress roots, dripping-tip leaves, cauline flowers, and etc. The diversity of epiphytes and carnivorous plants arrests children’s and even parents’ eyes in the orchid &carnivorous house. More than 1000 species of cacti and succulents are collected in their house. It makes you feel like walking on an Arizona or Africa pathway. So, the conservatory is a very important site for the education of botany and conservation of plant resources.
Penjing (Bonsai) is an ancient tradition art in China. Its long history can be traced back to 1,900 years ago. The Penjing garden is an attractive exhibition in the Beijing Botanical Garden. Most Penjing works come from different parts of China with distinct styles. There are also outdoor miniature trees over 100 years old in the garden. A ginkgo tree is now more than 1,300 years old. The garden provides visitors with an elegant place to study the Penjing art, appreciate and exchange the works.
Built in May, 1993, the rose garden is covering an area of 7 hectares. The garden has a collection of 100,000 roses and over 1,000 cultivars. It is a large-scale rose garden that integrates display, scientific research and education. Gathered in the garden are different types of roses such as original species, heritage and modern roses, each grown in a special area. In the exhibition section of the heritage roses, original species, varieties and ancient cultivars are on display following the evolutionary course. In the display area of modern roses, hybrid tea rose, floribunda rose, climbing rose, ground cover rose, miniature rose and shrub rose are being exhibited according to the categorization system of modern roses. In the sunken garden, different cultivars of floribunda roses are grown according to the various color. When the flowers are in bloom, the garden is a riot of colors and the scene is magnificent. The blossom appreciation period of rose is from May to November every year. During this period, the roses are in full bloom with graceful postures and sweet perfume, rendering visitors reluctant to leave.
The Cherry Valley
The Cherry Valley lies in the west foot of Shou’an Mountain, also called Tuigu and The Zhous Garden. The valley is an ideal resort thanks to its humidity, affable climate, long history and plenty of scenic spots. Many temples had been built in the past dynasties such as Longjiao Temple, Wuhua Temple, Guanghui Nunnery, Yuantong Temple and Puji Temple. The former three sites still exist today. Other tourist attractions include Deer Cliff Retreat, Ruli Pavilion, White Deer Cliff, cypress on rock, Yuanbao rock, Origin of spring and December 9th Pavilion, etc.