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Admire the Stunning Elegance of Peony in Luoyang

 2014-03-29    Yan    Sights    Luoyang    966  

Peony is China's traditional and well-known flower. It always represents elegance and poise. Luoyang was the capital of China for 9 dynasties but it was during the Tang Dynasty, with Chang'an (now Xi'an ) as the capital, that Luoyang became the home of peonies. With various varieties and marvelous colors of peony, Luoyang enjoys the honor of "King of the Flower Kingdom".

About the title “Home of Peoney”, there is an interesting story. Records tell the story of Empress Wu Zetian, one of only two female rulers of China. Apparently, in her eccentricity, she sent an imperial edict to the effect that all flowers should bloom the next day - despite the fact that it was snowy mid-winter. All the flowers complied, except the peonies.

In anger the Empress had these banished from the capital and sent to Luoyang. It is said that the peonies flourished in Luoyang, thereby completing a story which is probably an attack on this unpopular figure as much as it is a thinly-veiled moral message: defiance of the powerful even under duress.

Most peonies (species belonging to the flowering plant family Paeoniaceae) are herbaceous perennial plants. Their flowers are large and fragrant and therefore much adored by gardeners and horticulturalists. There are more than 700 recognised species of peony, most created by artificial intervention. The original reds, purples, pinks and whites are now supplemented by yellows, greens and even black.

Luoyang Peony Festival is very popular among Chinese tourists and peony enthusiasts the world over, which is held every Spring to celebrate this noble bloom.

Each year from mid-April to mid-May, the peonies are in full bloom, generally reaching their peak during the period April 15th-25th, which is the date set for the annual festival. During the peoy fair, gardens are awash with colorful flowers mostly reds mixed with whites, yellows and purples set against a background of thick, vibrant, dark green leaves, like a myriad of precious stones set in bright, shiny rings. In addition, there are various folk performances staged in the gardens.

The main venue of the annual Luoyang Peony Festival is Luoyang National Peony Garden, located in the town of Mongshan on the outskirts of Luoyang.

Luoyang National Peony Garden is one of the oldest gardens to grow and reproduce peonies in China. It is divided into North Garden and South Garden. There are over 1 million peony trees of 1,200 different kinds.

The peony blooming here is highly reputed for its big flower, flamboyant color, numerous species and lasting florescence.

To avoid being flooded in the crowd, tourists can choose to admire the beauty of peony at other spots like Shenzhou Peony Garden, Luoyang Sui & Tang Dynasties Relics Botanic Garden etc. Besides seeing peonies, famous tourist attractions include White Horse Temple and Longmen Grottoes. Luoyang City is only 1 hour by train to Zhengzhou City, where the world famous Shaolin Temple is located.

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