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A Pagoda Full of Peonies 2019-01-02
Peonies are flowering plants that bear large and often fragrant petals ranging from red to white or yellow and which can now be seen blooming vibrantly in the park of the Pagoda of Six Harmonies - the venue of the Peonies Exhibition for the last seven years.

Running until May 3, this year’s exhibition boasts the most number of peonies including the King and Queen of peonies and Luoyang Peonies. With a picturesque backdrop that features the ancient Pagoda of Six Harmonies and the majestic Qiantang River – the 8th Peonies Exhibition is a spectrum of colour for budding explorers and horticulturists alike.

Compared to other flowers in China, the cultivation of peonies didn’t actually start until the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD), nevertheless their status in Chinese history and culture is unrivaled. In light of culture importance and popularity, peonies are in fact regarded as the Chinese equivalent to roses in Europe. It was in the Tang Dynasty (618– 907) that the cultivation of peonies had reached its height and from then on they were honoured the title of ‘King of flowers’ and were used by maids of honour as decorative hair accessories. Now there are numerous species of peonies in China and most of the world’s peonies are in fact imported from here.

Throughout history peonies have been given many nicknames, such as 'King of Flowers' which originates from the Chinese Compendium of Materia Medica (BencaoGangmu); and ‘Flower of Honour and Riches’ for its bright colour and elegancy.

The ancient city of Luoyang is the main production area of peonies and has in fact been dubbed the ‘Capital of Peonies’. There is a legend to how peonies ended up in Luoyang and it begins on a winter’s day when Wu Zetian, the only female emperor of China, was strolling in the garden and self-absorbed by her powers she ordered all the flowers to bloom. In spite of the season all the flowers obeyed except for the peonies which irritated Wu Zetian and made her banish them from Chang’an to Luoyang.

Late spring and early summer are widely known as the best times to view peonies, so why not enhance your cultural and visual senses and visit the ancient Pagoda of Six Harmonies and its surrounding spectacular views.

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