Planting seeds of inspiration
Rare plant species adorning the grounds of the Asian Games Village have captured the imaginations of athletes and officials alike
During the intervals between their rigorous bouts of competition, athletes and team officials frequently retreat to the tranquil oasis of the Asian Games Village. Here, amid moments of respite, they often embark on leisurely strolls along the scenic banks of the nearby river.
These idyllic walks serve as opportunities to unwind, engage in pin exchanges with fellow participants, forge new friendships, or simply enjoy a steaming cup of coffee while taking in the panoramic riverside view.
However, what also catches the attention of the participants is the remarkable flora that adorns the river bank. Within the confines of the Village, residents can catch glimpses of Hangzhou's rich biodiversity, featuring not only the well-known local Celtis julianae trees, but also several rare and extraordinary species.
"We have a philosophy, which is to preferentially use native tree species," explained Wang Xiaotian, the landscape project designer for Asian Games Village. "We refrain from using tree species that are inherently unsuitable for planting in this region, as they are not conducive to the healthy growth of other plants."
Numerous diverse forms of lotus blossoms grace the riverbank, serving as a captivating highlight. During the Asian Games, the lotuses will have mostly completed their flowering season. To address this, Wang and her team opted for a unique addition: winter lotus.
These winter lotus flowers bloom from July to December and possess remarkable cold resistance. They not only offer an abundance of flowers, but also hold a higher aesthetic appeal compared to the typical lotus varieties, Wang said.
According to Wang, the landscaping team have collaborated with Hangzhou Botanical Garden to procure several rare plant species seldom found in such environments.
One example is the wild jasmine, which blooms in mid-April, adorning trees with an explosion of delicate, bell-like flowers. Despite being a common sight in the countryside, it remains relatively underused in landscaping applications, Wang explained.
"We hope that through this initiative, these precious and distinctive plants will gradually find their way into various projects. In the future, when people see these plants and appreciate their beauty, more people will be inspired to engage in their propagation," Wang said.
She looks forward to a time when, as their application becomes more widespread, these plants will no longer be rare native species, but will instead evolve into commonly seen garden varieties.