Our Journey to China

Professional Gardener Class of 2012

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Home again!

We landed safely in Philly after braving three flights, three buses, and a tram over the course of 30+ hours!

We’re all a little weary but we couldn’t help but reflect on the past 10 days. We’ve experienced and learned so much… more than we could articulate in a blog post. So we’ll leave you with a few “Top 10” moments that we hope will share just a little bit more about our journey to China. -Jen

Favorite Horticultural Sights
1. Penjing Collection at the Shanghai Botanic Garden
2. Phoenix-tail bamboo along the Li River
3. Roadside small scale agriculture
4. Longjing Tea Plantation
5. Gesneriads Collection at Guilin Botanic Garden
6. Cacti and Succulent Greenhouse at Chenshan Botanic Garden
7. Multi-level Conservatory at Shanghai Botanic Garden
8. Behind-the-scenes tour of the Herbarium at Guilin Botanic Garden
9. Massive Quince trees in the Humble Administrators Garden
10. Multiple varieties of sunflowers at Chenshan Botanic Garden

The 10 Things That Surprised us the Most
1. The food…it wasn’t as exotic as we expected
2. The driving! Organized chaos!
3. The construction…the entire country seems to be a construction zone
4. The close integration of agricultural lands with the cities and towns
5. The massive expanse of urban areas… endless miles of high rises
6. The number of Chinese tourists and how the garden experience was completely different from what we are used to because of the crowds
7. The positive attitudes of the people we met
8. The variety of vegetables in the markets… our farmers markets don’t come close!
9. The widespread use of traditional farming methods… no mechanized equipment, no irrigation, and almost no chemicals (fertilizers or pesticides)
10. The Quarry Garden at Chenshan… the way they were able to use an existing feature in such a magnificent way

And finally, 10 Words to Describe China
1. Diverse
2. Vast
3. Chaotic
4. Richly-textured
5. Illuminated
6. Delicious
7. Vibrant
8. Traditional
9. Intimate
10. Bustling

[Longwood Gardens]

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For our last evening in China, we enjoyed an incredible show named “Impression” with over 800 actors and the river for a stage. What a wonderful  end to the day!

-David

[Longwood Gardens]

For our last evening in China, we enjoyed an incredible show named “Impression” with over 800 actors and the river for a stage. What a wonderful end to the day!

-David

[Longwood Gardens]

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Cooks in training hard at work! our Dinner menu included: steamed chicken with mushrooms, egg wrapped dumpling, eggplant in Yangshuo style, stir fried pork with vegetables, and green vegetables with garlic. As our instructor Amy says “No smoking no cooking!” meaning that if the wok isn’t smoking, then it’s not hot enough to start cooking.
-David

[Longwood Gardens]

Cooks in training hard at work! our Dinner menu included: steamed chicken with mushrooms, egg wrapped dumpling, eggplant in Yangshuo style, stir fried pork with vegetables, and green vegetables with garlic. As our instructor Amy says “No smoking no cooking!” meaning that if the wok isn’t smoking, then it’s not hot enough to start cooking.
-David

[Longwood Gardens]

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Fresh vegetables at the market—just right for our cooking class!
-David

[Longwood Gardens]

Fresh vegetables at the market—just right for our cooking class!
-David

[Longwood Gardens]

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The Li River appears on the 20 RMB (the Chinese currency). We enjoyed almost exactly the same view!
- David

[Longwood Gardens]

The Li River appears on the 20 RMB (the Chinese currency). We enjoyed almost exactly the same view!
- David

[Longwood Gardens]

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A short stop at the Ying Qio Gong Buddhist temple built in the 1920s to protect the village fisherman
-David

[Longwood Gardens]

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Along the river edge were fisheries, water buffalo, and Phoenix-tail bamboo.
- David

[Longwood Gardens]

Along the river edge were fisheries, water buffalo, and Phoenix-tail bamboo.
- David

[Longwood Gardens]

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A morning boat ride down the Li River was a great introduction to Yangshou’s farming community.

The Li River is a tributary of the Pearl River—the third largest in China. Farmer’s rafts and picturesque views of the limestone mountains floated by during our two hour boat ride. Too bad it wasn’t a month or we could have floated all the way to Hong Kong! Extended trip?…
- David

[Longwood Gardens]

A morning boat ride down the Li River was a great introduction to Yangshou’s farming community.

The Li River is a tributary of the Pearl River—the third largest in China. Farmer’s rafts and picturesque views of the limestone mountains floated by during our two hour boat ride. Too bad it wasn’t a month or we could have floated all the way to Hong Kong! Extended trip?…
- David

[Longwood Gardens]