Shanghai Daily news
One man's devotion to protecting a 500-year-old wisteria whose roots
cover 0.53 hectares has paid off for Minhang District.
Ye Xinlong, bureau
director for Minhang's green issues, believes the wisteria to be the biggest and
oldest of its kind in the city.
He set out to persuade the district
government to provide the purple-flower shrub a sustainable home, despite
opposition from co-workers who doubted the value of spending millions of yuan on
a shrub in the city's outskirts where possible visits might not bring in
But Ye was insistent.
"The species is scarce in the
city and this ancient sample makes it a treasure," he said.
"It has pulled
through all the hard times and become a wordless historic witness. That makes it
as worthy as anything to be protected."
Ye's persistence moved the district's
top officials, who gave him 8 million yuan (US$963,000) to complete his
With the money, Ye invited several professional gardeners to design
and build a 0.53-hectare garden around the area of the shrub's roots.
district moved a small factory and three houses to make space for 300 kinds of
plants and some structures recreating the character of an ancient water
"Without proper surroundings, a wisteria is unable to show its beauty
to full effect," Ye said.
The garden now has maples, magnolias and pines and
features corridors with stone lions, exquisite pavilions and small bridges over
a winding creek.
The gardeners have been very careful not to damage the
giant's roots which stretch to the opposite bank of the creek.
"We treat the
old wisteria like a senior man who needs tender care to ensure longevity," said
The wisteria's branches have been supported with white stone-made frames
and can provide shade for more than 100 people.
Six months after the
restoration, Ye has hired a group of gardeners to take care of the shrub.
vision has been rewarded by the number of foreign tourists attracted to the
"The small garden enables them to enjoy both our traditional culture
and the water town's typical sceneries," Ye said.
The garden, between
Jiangchuan Community and Maqiao Town, is open all year round.
Spring is the
best visiting time, with masses of purple blossoms and the sunshine threading
its way through the white stone frames.
People who are interested in the tree
are advised to take Metro Line One to the district's downtown and catch a taxi.
Time: All seasons (spring is best)
Jiangchuan Community and