The 10th China Flower Expo that will be held in Shanghai's Chongming Island is about to enter the final stage of preparation, with several rounds of stress tests set to take place in May, according to local authorities.
Chen Qun, deputy director of the department in charge of the expo's management, said that the construction of outdoor gardens and indoor exhibition venues is scheduled to be completed by mid-May.
"It will be the first expo to be hosted on an island, in the countryside and surrounded by forests," said Chen.
Launched in 1987, the first edition of the expo was held in Beijing. The host venue is rotated among other cities every four years.
The expo, which will span 10 square kilometers, will take place on the island from May 21 to July 2.It will comprise a core flower exhibition zone with a record high 180 outdoor gardens and two service zones.
The expo's official flower is the peony, which symbolizes wealth and good fortune.
Tourists will get to see over 1,000 types of flowers including magnolia, Chinese plums, and chrysanthemums.
"One of the highlights would be the largest outdoor orchid park in China that measures 30,000 square meters. The park will feature 300 kinds of orchids from around the world," said Ren Yuanbin, deputy chief engineer of Chongming Ecotourism Group.
Rare flowers such as green chrysanthemum and the world's smallest water lily will be exhibited as well, Ren said.
At the Hongqiao Flower Village in Jianshe town of Chongming, three new tulip varieties that were cultivated in the Netherlands are being stored in the village now as a gift for the expo, according to Jiang Yong, chairman of Shanghai Aalsmmer Horticulture, which manages the village.
The village is a vital part of the China-Dutch tulips industrial base project launched by the district government of Chongming in 2019.
On April 10, Shanghai released six tourism routes themed around the expo. Among them are a tour package combining entry to the flower expo with a cruise tour on the Huangpu river, an outdoor cycling route covering multiple scenic spots on the Chongming Island, and a route featuring local cultural activities.
To encourage tourists to use public transport, the city will offer shuttle services that connect the expo to downtown areas, according to Cai Jingyan, the person in charge of transportation matters.
Chongming has been promoting its flower industry for years as part of Shanghai's master plan to transform the island into a world-class ecological zone by 2035.
As of 2020, the total planting area of commercial flowers on the island was 18.67 sq kilometers, generating a total output of more than 32 million flowers and annual sales of over 100 million yuan ($15.4 million).
Chongming has introduced eight leading enterprises to build a complete industry chain covering flower R&D, production and trading, with a total investment of nearly 2.5 billion yuan ($381.7 million).
The Hongqiao flower village, for example, owns an industrial base for flowers of nearly 8,000 sq meters and a flower theme park that has been open to the public since March.
"All tulips in the village are imported from the Netherlands. Tulips requires an extended period of cold dormancy before they flower. In hot climates, we store them in refrigerators for weeks to trick them into blooming and extend its flowering period to May and longer," Jiang said.
"We will introduce more flower bulbs from the Netherlands to Chongming, as the island is suitable for the production of Mediterranean bulbous flowers. We have also introduced the world's most cutting-edge flower processing and production technology from the Netherlands to achieve full automation for the local industry. Facilities such as greenhouses and flower workshops are also under construction. They are expected to be the most advanced technology application base for tulips production in China," Jiang added.