Ah, springtime! Nature comes back to life. The sun conquers gloom, warmth trumps cold, and spring fever supplants the "cabin fever" of winter.
The Russian great Leo Tolstoy said, "Spring is the time for plans and projects."
Urban day-trippers, it's time to shake off the dregs of winter and embrace the exuberance of springtime! And where better to breathe fresh air, enjoy rural tranquility, and marvel at nature's palette of seasonal blooms than Songjiang?
So get out there and enjoy the season of renewal, rejoice in the reborn exuberance, and inhale the sights and scents of spring blossoms.
Check out the flower map and highlights of florescences in Songjiang.
The Cherry Blossom Park in Chenshan Botanic Garden promises to be one of Shanghai's largest cherry blossom displays, with 2,000 sakura trees of 80 varieties spread across 58,000 square meters.
The middle of March sees the popular Japanese breed Kawazu-zakura in full bloom, while the late bloomers of Chinese breeds such as Puxianxiang, Yujin and Jiajiang will continue to dye the garden pinkish and milky white throughout April.
More than 100 cherry trees have turned the green belt near the intersection of Binhu and Wenxiang roads into a pink sea. The delicate petals float away in the spring breeze, filling the air with a light fragrance. Early breeds in March flower first and then become leaves, whereas late breeds in April have both blossoms and leaves.
The majority of the sakura breeds planted along the public roads in Songjiang are Somei Yoshino and Guanshan, which stretch along the Guanghua and Zhongde roads in Xiaokunshan Town, as well as the Binhu Road in the central downtown.
Somei Yoshinon sakura has a large number of flowers. The flower has five petals and is light red in the early stages of florescence before gradually turning white when it reaches full bloom. In a poetic touch, after they flutter to the ground from the branches, the sidewalk appears to be covered with a pink and white blanket.
When the temperature rises, magnolias bloom in Songjiang District. The magnolia, Shanghai's city flower, has its origins in the centuries-old Zuibai Pond Park at 64 Renmin Road S.
The pure white bloom that adorns the park's magnolia courtyard appears to glow against a backdrop of gray tiles, black wall bricks and vermilion wooden posts. The courtyard, which is paved with magnolia-patterned floor tiles, is famous for the Late Scent (or Wanxiang, 晚香) Pavilion in the center, which is roofed with a magnolia-bud shaped top.
The magnolia tradition in the ancient classic garden dates back more than a century. In addition to the courtyard, trees are also planted in Xiangzhen Kiosk and Baocheng Hall of the park.
A 100-year-old Erqiao magnolia tree can be found in the park. Because of its white and purple flowers, the tree is known as "Er Qiao," which literally means the beautiful twin sisters Big Qiao and Little Qiao during the Three Kingdoms Period (AD 220-280).
Magnoliaceae is the oldest or most ancient plant family. Long-term and intensive cultivation has led to a large number of varieties with different plant types, leaf shapes, flower shapes, colors and flowering times.
The Chenshan Botanic Garden's 700 shrubs of magnolia trees of nearly 90 breeds are currently bursting into blooms that will last until next month.
Wangchun Magnolia, also known as the "spring's messenger," has reached its peak. It can reach a height of 12 meters as a large tree and has white flowers with purple red in the bottom.
At the same time, magnolia blossoms can be found in Songjiang's Fangta Park at 235 Zhongshan Road M., as well as along the Beicui, Renmin N. and Sixian roads.
Camellia on the city's top
A century-old camellia blooms on the top of Sheshan Hill. The ancient plant at the city's highest elevation of 98.9 meters is still in its prime.
The camellia, which is 123 years old and has petals as red as the morning sun surrounding the golden stamens, emits a pleasant fragrance.
It stands 5.9m tall, has a root circumference of 1.04m, a chest circumference of 0.96m, and an average crown width of 7.1m. It has been designated as a second-class protected plant in Shanghai.
"We're giving this old buddy special attention," said Peng Xiaojie of the Sheshan Hill National Forest Resort. "Monthly inspection reports are being done. If it does not grow well, we work out a special treatment. Meanwhile, pruning tasks such as removing dead branches or withered leaves are strengthened."
Camellia has a long flowering season that can last until late April or early May.
Sheshan Hill is a range of 12 jutting hills that span 13 kilometers and encompasses 400 hectares of Shanghai's only natural mountainous forestland.
It's quite a climb to take in some fresh mountain air and admire this long-lived camellia on the city's apex. The picturesque, densely forested hill is also dotted with scenic sites such as the Sheshan Cathedral, an observatory for astronomers and pedestrian stargazers, and a Buddhist shrine.
Bike into the woods and let your mind run wild in Maogang Town. With the completion of the Maochen Road Forest Track, city cyclists now have another option to push their pedals and work their leg muscles.
The forest in Fanjia Village covers 3.7 square kilometers and contains over 1,000 plant species. All year, the tree-lined path is built into a deep forest of lush greens and blooming flowers.
In the future, the route will be extended to connect small village lanes, allowing urban bikers to tour and experience the countryside.
Cangcheng was once a busy shipping center in Songjiang with many rivers, streams and canals that crossed each other. Now, it is full of visitors who have come to admire the plum blossoms.
Along the Zhongshan Road W. that traverses the watertown, plum trees are in bloom by the Dacang and Kuatang bridges, at the roadside, and by the river banks. The subtle fragrance permeates every corner of the town.
A plum blossom bonsai exhibition is in full swing at the Weijue Library in the century-old Wang's Residence. More than 30 pots of flowers highlight some of the most precious breeds in dark red, yellow, white and green.
The town has had a special connection to the plum trees since ancient times. The Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) calligraphy master Zhang Zhao lived close to the Weijue Library near the Xiuye Bridge. He specialized in painting plum blossoms and orchids, both symbols of perseverance and tenacity in Chinese culture.