Chrysanthemums in Aberdeen


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Date last updated: 
01 August 2008


2007, CHINA EXPERIENCE On chrysanthemums
by  Dennis Maher, Sydney, Australia.
   (last updated 01 August 2008 )

When an opportunity to go to China to see chrysanthemums presented itself I was most excited. This journey was to take place in mid November, 2007. The person I liaisoned with was a Prof. Conglin Huang, the Director General of the China Chrysanthemum Society based in Beijing. Conglin made all the arrangements for both Bruce Skeen and me and indeed all the other foreign visitors for this event.

On 21st November, 2007, I met Bruce at Sydney Airport and we flew off to China on China Southern Airlines. Being met at Guang-zhou Airport by Conglin and  a Prof. Tou, we went by mini-bus for 1˝ hours to Xiao-lan a town in the south part of China not that far from Hong Kong actually.

Zhuhai Agricultural Science Park.
The next day we were taken on a bus trip to an agricultural research centre, Zhuhai Agricultural Science Park, which was down near the Vietnamese border. It started off with lunch then a lecture (in Chinese) of what the institute does and its achievements. This was followed by a walk around the grounds and into the greenhouses.  Unfortunately chrysanthemums were not on the agenda here but other flowers mainly orchids, and fruit and vegetables were in  abundance.

This completed, we had the long drive back to the hotel.

Each night saw a sumptuous dinner laid on. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were nearly always a major meal of which the Chinese can be very proud, as I was very impressed. 

At this point I should explain the China Experience, as I shall call it, was basically divided into 2 sections of an exhibition and a conference. These 2 being: 

  • “The 9th China Chrysanthemum Exhibition” and

  • “The 16th Annual Meeting of the Chrysanthemum Association of China” which included an International Workshop.

Conference Pass

Start of the exhibition.
Friday, 23rd November, was the start of the exhibition. Here the international representatives were driven by coach to the exhibition grounds or at least the main section as it was divided into 3 sections, each presenting a different theme or presentation. The main exhibition was held in Xia Di Yuang Exhibition Centre. The other 2 sections were in Long Shan Park and Jiang Bin Park. (Refer to maps - click thumbnails)

All VIP’s were issued with an Exhibition Pass as shown to the left. This   allowed unlimited access to the official opening and a walk around  before the general public were admitted.

The exhibition had an official opening with all local dignitaries from the provincial governor to the Chinese Chrysanthemum Society hierarchy. A special cap and also a metal badge were made for the occasion and given to all invited guests. 

International Flavour
This year to add an international flavour representatives from France, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, USA, Vietnam and Australia were present. Your Australian representatives were Bruce Skeen from the NCS (Aust.) and Dennis Maher from the ACC. Starting with welcoming Lion & Dragon Dances with their accompanying symbols and drums the atmosphere was set for a great affair, the China Experience.

Speeches were delivered by the officials to specially invited guests numbering about 1,000 who were in an enclosure in front of the podium, and also over an extensive PA system to the general Chinese public numbering in the thousands.

After this the special guests were shown around the expansive chrysanthemum exhibition. This was allotted about 1 hour after which the general public were allowed access. The accompanying photographs show the fantastic displays. 

China does not hold competitions like we do in Australia. Floral displays like the  photos depict seems to be what China is interested. Definitely China put on a breath-taking exhibition. 

At the exhibition we saw many types of chrysanthemum, the Chinese trying to depict every aspect of the chrysanthemum flower. This led to edible chrysanthemums and even chrysanthemum liqueur. But yet there was another side to the exhibition  which was the paintings, poetry and calligraphy devoted to the chrysanthemum.  This should be of interest particularly to our Chinese and Japanese members.

After the conference was finished we had a free day and some of us decided to go back to the exhibition this time by rickshaw. On the first day of the exhibition many of the blooms were not open but on our second visit the display was much more colourful. We also had time to visit not just the main exhibit but also many of the other sections. As you can see on the map the extensity of the  exhibition, going from full-on displays to a quiet walk around a lake reading  poems on chrysanthemums and other art forms related to the flower. Entering through the Chinese Arc de Triumph you are surrounded by many types of bonsai plants. Further on, a walk along the river front with the Chinese  Muslims selling food stuffs which you could eat as you strolled along through the park.

One final memory ...
Alas, all good things come to an end and so Bruce and I left this wonderful scene. But there was still a memory yet to be experienced. Apparently our driver who was taking us back to the airport only had a rough idea of where it was. Eric, our French compatriot, was sitting with me in the front of the mini-bus. Driving along the expressway was great and I quickly learnt how to read the characters for the airport. We passed a turn-off and I commented to Eric that I thought we should have turned off there according to the sign. Eric agreed but we decided to say nothing as we presumed the driver knew what he was doing. Well, after 15 minutes of no further airport signs I tried to talk to the driver, this was impossible as he spoke NO English. At this stage you could see he was concerned that he was not going the right direction. Through Eric and I speaking all the time to him he finally took a turn off and did an about turn. This time Eric and I were discussing that he drive (China drives on the European side of the road) and I navigate (I can read characters). Well, as it turned out shouting at the driver and pointing at where to go we got to the airport. I was not sure if he could read Chinese. Anyway, we wished him luck and wondered if he would be able to make it back home. A bit of excitement is good sometimes!!!

All in all a memorable experience which I hope I have successfully shared with you as members of the Australian Chrysanthemum Council and kindred societies.

All text and images are copyright of Dennis Maher 
and may not be used without permission.

Sincere thanks to Dennis Maher for sharing with us his 'once in a lifetime' trip to China.
Dennis Maher
This series of web pages is made possible thanks to Dennis Maher 
(Sydney , Australia).

Agricultural Paradise

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Greenhouse walk

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'Old Technology'

Chrysanthemum Exhibition

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Conference Cap

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Exhibition Entrance

Chrysanthemum Conference

Conference logo

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Site Map 1

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Site Map 2

Local Celebrities

The president of the Chinese Chrysanthemum Society, Mrs. Shu Lin ZHANG is pictured here with me.

Another celebrity was the deputy mayor,  Ms Li Xian LIANG who also posed for a shot with me.

And Finally ...

Rickshaw ride


Website designed and published by Paul Barlow based on input and images from Dennis Maher (Australia)
© Copyright 2008 Paul Barlow/Dennis Maher