Rapeseed or rape, as it is also known, is a bright-yellow flowering member of the mustard family. It is consumed in China for its stalks, leaves and flowers and is also cultivated for its oil seeds. Known for its vibrant yellow appearance it has caught the eye of many locals and visitors and has recently grown to become one of the nation’s most popular ornamental flowers. The plant, bearing little yellow flowers, is usually grown in large numbers and when the flowers are in full bloom they appear to form a blanket of gold over China’s rural beds, which is a spectacular sight that simply has to be seen.
The following are some of the best locations in which to view the rapeseed plant in Hangzhou:
Eight Diagrams Field
Eight Diagrams Field, named after its resemblance to Eight Diagrams in Chinese culture, is divided into eight sections where in each section grows a different crop. This spring the outer circle of the field, which totals 17 mu (1mu roughly equals to 666 sq m), is dominated by a sea of bright yellow rapeseed flowers and visitors can view this golden creation in two different ways. Whether you choose to get up close to the field itself or climb for a panoramic view 30 minutes up to Zilai Cave (紫来洞), half way up Jade Emperor Mountain, either way, what awaits you is a scene bursting in charm and colour.
Hongyuan Garden in Xixi National Wetland Park
The rapeseed in Hongyuan Garden is planted in the design of a maze so whichever path you take getting lost in a sea of yellow is a wonderful way to spend any part of your day. The best time to visit is in late March when the rape flowers in Hongyuan Garden will, for approximately one month, be in full bloom. In addition to this colourful adventure, from March 21 to May 3 there will be a Spring Garden Party where you can also appreciate the sounds of Kunqu Opera (one of the oldest forms of Chinese opera and one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO).
Xuling (胥岭) is a mountain village in Jiande, a county-level City in Hangzhou and is nestled in a valley surrounded by mountains that are dominated by terrace fields. When spring comes multi-layered terrace fields are scattered with golden rapeseed and green rice plants together with pinky plum and peach blossom dominate the picturesque scene – shining as beautiful as a colourful water-colour painting. The view is enhanced, even further, by the ancient village and its many hundred year old camphor trees that orderly line in front of the villages’ houses. After the rain, the mountains and village are enveloped by a misty smoke leaving behind them the most impressive views around. In addition, you can explore natural karst caves in the mountains.
Spring is here and so is the 2017 “Intoxicating Springtime” – Hangzhou Outdoor Leisure Season which, in the following three months, will provide the city with over 50 springtime outdoor experiences and tour itineraries. With six themes to choose from such as child-parent, flower viewing, games and sports, spring couldn’t be livelier.
The annual time for picking Longjing green tea leaves, one of the top ten renowned teas of China, has begun in Hangzhou and everywhere tea farmers are now busy picking and hand frying the famous leaves. If you wanted to take a sneak peek at how the farmers meticulously pick their verdant leaves from bushes nestled in undulating hills, or if you wanted to sample, at first hand, this year’s Longjing variety, then head to the following three tea villages which are known for their tea, tea culture and tea-related tourist attractions.