It is the start of the Chinese new year today, and an auspicious new year too –the year of the Dragon.
Gardeners have a lot to thank China for – large numbers of beautiful plants have been collected from the varied regions of this vast country. I’ve written about some of the plant hunters who scoured the world looking for new introductions before: here and here, for example.
‘Chinese’ garden at Biddulph Gardens
Many Camellias come from China although, of course, they have been hybridised since then, to give a whole range of colour and flower forms.
A lot of Rhododendrons, similarly, come from various provinces of China, such as Rhododendron lanigerum (discovered by Frank Kingdon Ward)
Pieris formosa var. forrestii was discovered by George Forrest in 1910 – this one was photographed at Ness Gardens, for whom Forrest collected.
We would be without the winter interest of Prunus serrula bark if it hadn’t been discovered in China.
Whilst Wisteria floribunda comes from Japan, Wisteria sinensis hails from China. This white version (var. alba) was photographed at Bodnant Gardens (North Wales).
Sinensis as a specific name indicates that the plant comes from China. So, we also have Camellia sinensis (Chinese tea plant), Corylopsis sinensis (Chinese winter hazel), Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, Miscanthus sinensis and so on and so on…
So many more plants in our gardens originate from China. This Chinese New Year, go out and see what plants you have which have their origins there.