NOW is the best time to see clouds of peach blossoms, cherry blossoms, and a heady bouquet of other flowers in Zhejiang Province.
Fragrances fill the air — notably the extravagant peach blossoms on the hillsides, the vast rapeseed flowers along country roads and pure pear blossoms in small villages.
Each year around the Qingming Festival, these blossoms are at their peak. Shanghai Daily picks a couple of blazing places where you can immerse yourself in the aromatic “flower sea.”
Rapeseed flowers at Kaihua County
Chinese prefer rapeseed oil, as it is more fragrant than ordinary cooking oil. Farmers are encouraged to plant the flowers because of the high yield rate and easy cultivation.
Zhejiang local peasants often plant rapeseed flowers on small plots and ridges between fields in order to make full use of every piece of land. In spring, the yellow flowers cover fields and hill slopes, creating vibrant scenery.
Kaihua County is on the border of Zhejiang, Anhui and Jiangxi provinces. Among its flower-viewing spots, Taihui Hill and Gaotiankeng Village were the most beautiful.
Taihui Hill is referred to as the Potala Palace of Jiangnan (region in the south of the lower reaches of Yangtze River) because of its terraced appearance that resembles the famous palace. Locals have built houses on the terraced slopes, which finally formed the present-day Potala-like scenery.
Now, the little “Potala” is covered with blooming rapeseed flowers. It’s often misty in the hills and terraced fields in the morning and on rainy days, giving the appearance of a mysterious wonderland.
This ambience lures photographers year round. Early morning is recommended as the best time to take photos.
Not far from Taihui Hill is Gaotiankeng Village, which remains original hamlet appearance and picturesque natural landscape.
It has long been a hotspot for shutterbugs because of its idyllic scenery. Black-roofed and clay-walled houses are in a valley surrounded by mountains with terraced fields.
In spring, villagers grow rape flowers and dozens of peach trees on the terraced fields and ridges in between.
The land turns into layered yellow carpets with some pink blotches from the peach blossoms.
How to get there: Changchun-Shenzhen Expressway — Hangzhou-Xin’anjiang-Jingdezhen Expressway — get off at the Kaihua exit
Pear blossoms at Chepankeng Village
This village was established 480 years ago. It was included as one of China’s traditional villages in 2014 by virtue of the well-preserved architecture and surroundings.
There are lush, centuries-old forests and brilliant pear blossoms that bloom in spring.
Most of these pear trees were planted 300 years ago. In ancient times, people grew pear trees in hidden nooks rather than obvious locations, because white flowers were considered inauspicious.
Now the taboo is gone, and they grow into lofty trees and catch people’s first sight when they enter the village.
Influenced by Anhui Province for centuries, the village features Hui-style architecture. It is said that a local businessman named Guo Mengqing built the first Hui-style building, and then residents began to imitate the design.
Although the village is largely cut off from the outside world due to its secluded location, the blooming pear blossoms still draw visitors.
Unlike other old villages that developed commercially to cash in on tourism, it still has preserved its original appearance and pastoral lifestyle.
How to get there: Shanghai-Kunming Expressway — Zhuji-Yongjia Expressway — Changchun-Shenzhen Expressway — get off at Chatian exit
Peach blossom at Gaoting Hill
Spring is flower time in Hangzhou, as vernal colors are now at their most vibrant. Wonderful floral views include cherry blossom at Taiziwan Park and rapeseed flowers at Eight-trigram Field.
Gaoting Hill in the northeast is now ablaze with peach blossoms. It has been noted for its peach blossoms for centuries.
Throughout history, the hill’s picturesque scenery drew poets and writers here, including Su Shi, Bai Juyi, Lu You and the contemporary author Yu Dafu.
Viewing peach blossom has been a tradition for Hangzhou locals since the Song Dynasty (960-1279). The hill’s peach trees were dubbed “Hangzhou’s three attractions” along with Xixi Wetland’s plum blossoms and wild reed.
Qiantao Garden is counted as the best spot to appreciate the pink flowers on Gaoting Hill, where peach blossoms cover the whole hillside. From afar, it seems to be wrapped in pink gauze.
Qiantao literally means thousands of peaches in Chinese. It was named because of the varied peach tree varieties in the garden.
Every year, local organizers host a flower festival during March and April, which always draws visitors from far and wide.
In addition to the peach blossoms, other activities are held. Among them, the most eye-catching is blind date.
In ancient times, it was a convention for single women and men to date each other during this period.
In China, peach blossoms are associated with long life, luck and love, especially love. It is said that if you meet your lover under the peach blossoms, your love will flower and endure.
How to get there: Desheng Road — Qiushi Road — Linding Road — Tianhe Road — Tianshi Road