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Feature: Signiture Chinese garden taking shape in Britain despite COVID-19
From:Xinhua  |  2020-05-09 11:29

by Xinhua writer Zhang Dailei

LONDON, May 7 (Xinhua) -- The COVID-19 pandemic may have halted many projects, but it failed to stop the joint efforts between British and Chinese horticultural experts for the construction of a Chinese garden in Greater Manchester.

The garden, named Chinese Streamside Garden, is part of the 154-acre Garden Bridgewater created by British leading horticultural charity Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).

Due to the impact of the ongoing pandemic, the opening date for RHS Garden Bridgewater in Salford, Greater Manchester, has been postponed from this July to next May.

However, the construction of the Chinese garden is still going on well as garden workers in Britain have kept communication with horticultural designers in China through the video link to advance the project, Chinese Consul-General in Manchester Zheng Xiyuan told Xinhua recently.

Earlier this year, RHS invited experts from Yangzhou city in eastern China to visit Bridgewater in February to provide advice on designing and constructing the core of the Chinese Streamside Garden.

After the visit was canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak, Bridgewater Curator Marcus Chilton-Jones suggested both sides, with the help of online technologies, should continue the construction of the rock feature at the head of the stream.

They kept the daily update via images and accompanying text to ensure the guidance and valuable expertise of Chinese experts are utilized effectively.

Through the joint efforts, the rock feature and pavement construction in the Chinese garden had been almost completed by the end of March when British cities started the lockdown.

"Although the two sides are thousands of miles away, our hearts and thoughts are being together. With such communication and mutual understanding, the Chinese garden design ideas have been perfectly realized," Consul-General Zheng said.

He hailed the project as a vivid example to show the value of China-Britain joint efforts in the battle against the epidemic.

According to RHS, the Chinese Streamside Garden, themed around the four seasons which is a traditional Chinese statement of design, will celebrate the huge contribution made to British horticulture by Chinese plants such as Acer davidii, Rhododendron indicum and Hydrangea paniculata.

"Incorporating seven acres of existing native woodland, this garden will represent an exciting and unique fusion of Chinese and British horticulture," RHS website writes.

"The cultural exchange of horticultural information between China and the UK will continue during the development of the garden to ensure that the garden is authentically Chinese whilst also blending and melding into the natural woodland landscape of Bridgewater," it added.

Other features of the garden will include a Chinese structure, stepping stones and a "barefoot route" for people to explore the garden from a completely different perspective.

The garden also features a collaboration with the Chinese community in Greater Manchester.

Local philanthropist, Dr. Lee Kai Hung, who is keen to celebrate historical horticultural links with China, organized a fund-raising committee and pledged to raise 500,000 pounds (619,630 U.S. dollars) towards the garden.

"This unique project will create a legacy for the people of Greater Manchester, celebrating the importance of Chinese horticulture for the development of UK gardens over the last 300 years. This garden symbolizes a blend of multi-cultural characteristics in a peaceful woodland setting, creating a stunning legacy for generations to come," Lee said.

Noting Garden Bridgewater is its first new garden for nearly 20 years, RHS said it is currently the biggest project of its kind in Europe. Enditem