7 places to catch Spring's plum blossoms

Enjoy the first signs of spring at these parks around Beijing

Image: courtesy of Mao Yi
Now that winter is finally looking for somewhere else to chill, we can expect much of nature to come out of hiding. Every year, the first to peek out and reach for the skies are Beijing spring's welcome wagon, the plum blossoms. Here are seven places to bring the kids to check out Beijing's earliest bloomers.
Beijing Botanical Garden's Wofo temple (北京植物园卧佛寺)

Beijing Botanical Garden's Wofo temple (北京植物园卧佛寺)

For possibly the best (and earliest) plum blossom sighting in town, head over to the Wofo temple or the Temple of the Reclining Buddha where about 60 species of plum blossoms begin their yearly stretch post Spring Festival as their petals wake up and bask in the sunlight. They take their nickname, 'Beijing's first branch', very seriously indeed. And to the east side of the temple is a cluster of ancient plum blossoms that, legend has it, have been around since the Tang Dynasty and claims bragging rights as 'The Crown Jewel of the Capital of Plum Blossoms'. Flowers not interesting enough for the kids? Then turn their attention to the hundreds of snappers swimming along in the midst  of the Buddhist temple and fresh blossoms. 

Beijing Botanical Garden (北京植物园) Wofosi Lu, Xiangshan, Haidian district (www.beijingbg.com) 海淀区香山路北京植物园内. 5RMB. Open Tue-Sun 9am-4pm. More photos here.  
Image: courtesy of Mao Yi

Fragrant Hill's Plum Blossoms Valley (香山公园梅谷)

Fragrant Hill's Plum Blossoms Valley (香山公园梅谷)

For more flower power, head over to Fragrant Hill's plum flower valley, home to more than a hundred varieties of plum trees. Surround yourself in a cloud of sweet-smelling freshness that can only come hundreds of little buds waking up to the departure of winter. There's a cable car too for those who would like the view but not necessarily the whole hike. 

Fragrant Hills Park. 1 Xiangshan Lu, Haidian district 市海淀区买卖街40号. Open 6am-6.30pm daily. 10RMB. More photos here.  

Image: Fragrant Hill's official WeChat account

Grand View Garden (大观园)

Grand View Garden (大观园)

The Grand View Garden was designed based on the garden in the Dream of the Red Chamber, one of China's 'Four Greatest Classical Novels'. In the novel, pink-petaled trees are prominently featured. Plum blossoms here differ from their usual plum blossoms family because of how their petals are more pointed and their scent sweeter.

Grand View Garden. 12 Nancaiyuan Jie, Xuanwu district. 宣武区南菜园街12号 大观园. 40元. 7.30am-5.30pm daily. 
Image: courtesy of Mao Yi

Summer Palace's Chamber of the Pleasure of Farming or Lenong Xuan (颐和园乐农轩)

Summer Palace's Chamber of the Pleasure of Farming or Lenong Xuan (颐和园乐农轩)

It's been said that it was the Empress Dowager herself who ordered the construction of this chamber in order to experience what life on a farm must be like. Seek it out by looking for a structure with gray brick walls and a stone roof within the royal garden.Unlike most parks, however, the blossoms here are hybrids. Horticulturalists had a hand in this with transplants from a 70-year old tree and resulting in flowers that are a shade greener than their usually-yellow siblings and more aromatic. Plum blossoms aren't the only thing to check out at this lovely park. Once the plum blossoms season has ended, look out for the peach blossoms that stretch for several kilometers in the Xidi mountain.  

More information on Summer Palace here
Image: courtesy of Mao Yi

Zhongshan Park Huifang Garden (中山公园惠芳园)

Zhongshan Park Huifang Garden (中山公园惠芳园)

Enter from the South gate of Zhongshan Park and head northwest to the Huifang Garden. With around 4,000 square metres boasting more than 30 kinds of plum blossoms and more than 110 plants, there's definitely a lot to see here. The site is only separated from the tourist-ridden Forbidden City by a wall. Zhongshan Park is also known for its various exhibitions in its small courtyard. See if there's any that catches your fancy while you're enjoying the blooms. 

Huifang Garden entrance 5RMB. More information on Zhongshan Park here. 
Image: xiquinhosilva via Flickr

Ming Dynasty City Wall Ruins Park (明长城遗址)

Ming Dynasty City Wall Ruins Park (明长城遗址)

The Ming City Wall has been around for more than 590 years and was originally a long 40 kilometre-long stretch. Today however, its longest wall ruins is only a kilometre long, but still long enough to admire the more than 50 varieties of nearly 1,000 plum blossoms planted along the city wall back in 2003. Take a stroll through history with the kids while taking in the pleasant and aromatic scent. Afterwards, head over to the city wall to enjoy the best preserved part in the old Beijing tower and watch the trains coming in and out of Beijing station. 

More information on Ming Dynasty City Wall Ruins Park here. 
Image: courtesy of Mao Yi

Hongluo Temple (红螺寺)

Hongluo Temple (红螺寺)

The temple covers an area of 800 hectares and is located at the foot of the Hongluo Mountain. Come spring, the temple holds a plum blossom exhibition featuring specially-cultivated varieties of plum blossoms and also many rare, indoor potted plants. A walk through the temple or even up the mountain gives visitors opportunity not only to enjoy the flowers but to also spend some time in meditation. 

Hongluo Temple. Yanqi hu, Huairou district (6068 1639) 怀柔区雁栖湖镇红螺寺. Open 8am-5.30pm daily. 64RMB. 
Image: rheins via Wikipedia Commons

You may also like

Spring in Beijing

Spring is finally here! Take advantage of the warmer weather and get outdoors

Read more
  • 4 out of 5 stars
submit