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Crowds throng to parks as flowers bloom early due to warm winter

THE unusual warm weather is turning the city’s many parks into a sea of flowers with hyacinth, cherry blossom, Chinese violet cress and magnolia in full bloom — a rarity at this time of the year.

The early blooming of the spring flowers has added a splash of color to the city, attracting uncommonly high number of visitors to the parks.

Peonies at the Shanghai Botanical Garden in Xuhui District have already flowered — the earliest in the park’s 30-plus years of existence.

“Peonies usually mature in April. The rare early flowering is mainly due to the warm weather this winter,” said Wang Yuqin, a botanist at the garden.

The flowers are rare green peonies and the garden has nearly 80 varieties of peonies. They are also expected to bloom earlier than usual this year. Fully-flowered peonies in the park usually last until mid-April.

For locals, the flowering of magnolia heralds the arrival of spring. It is very rare for peony and magnolia to bloom at the same time, luring in visitors to the park, Wang said.

The white magnolia — the city’s flower — has a radiant luster at the garden, essentially because of high number of sunny days late last month.

They are expected to remain like that till early next week, the park said.

At the Shanghai Chenshan Botanical Garden in Songjiang District, the Kawazu-zakura cherry blossom is in full bloom too.

The cherry features large petals and is bright pink in color. The park has a 550-meter boulevard of this flower, creating a dream-like pink tunnel. It is known as the most beautiful Kawazu-zakura cherry blossom boulevard in Shanghai.

In fact, Kawazu-zakura cherry blossom is one of the earliest cherries to flower in Shanghai. It is about one week early than usual, the Chenshan park authorities said.

Chenshan park has nearly 60 varieties of cherry blossoms with some of them imported from Japan, Germany and the Netherlands.

Besides magnolia, a variety of other flowers such as the blue and purple grape hyacinth, the yellow wild daffodil and the red kapok are glowing in the garden. The park has received more than 22,000 visitors over the weekend because of the good weather and the unusual early attraction of so many flowers. The figure is equal to its holiday attendance.

The Binjiang Forest Park in Pudong New Area is blanketed in beautiful blue and purple Chinese violet cress. The peach blossoms, magnolia and crabapple flowers have also blossomed early this year.

The Gucun Park, one of the city’s most famous cherry blossom parks, welcomed about 40,000 visitors on Saturday — a jump of 100 percent from a week earlier.

The park has more than 12,000 cherry blossom trees, and its Kawazu-zakura cherry blossom is also in full bloom.

Yoshino cherry, one of the most popular cherries, should also flower by the middle of this month.

The annual Cherry Blossom Festival starts on March 15 at the park and runs until mid-April.


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