What’s the biggest garden show in the world – Chelsea? Nope. The most visited – Floriade? Nein. Perhaps the most unusual – Chateau Chaumont? Possibly, but I think ‘non’. If you haven’t heard of the Jinzhou Landscape Art Exposition then maybe you will not be one of its 10 million visitors this year.
There’s been precious little (ie nothing) about this huge Expo in the non-China press. Over 300 international and Chinese artists and landscape architects are participating in the JLAE at Longqi Bay, Jinzhou, in Liaoning province, which opened last Friday and will run until October. With a theme of ‘City and Sea – harmonious in future’ the Expo area, covering 7 square kilometres, has been developed with energy recycling and sustainability as its core principles. One exhibit, the “Garden on the Sea”, was created by using reclaimed salt-affected soil from foreshores and disused shrimp farms.
But the 20 gardens in the Central Exhibition Park, designed by landscape architects from around the world, are not your regular Chelsea-sized garden. Each is about 3000sqm and so there’s plenty of room for big ideas from the winners of the international design competition, including landscape architects from Australia, New Zealand, Spain and Iran.
It’s taken 2 years to build the Expo, including an astonishing 182m tall Kaleidoscopic Tower, a 54,000 sqm flower field, a 15,000sqm Plant Fossil Garden and a huge area devoted to sand sculpture. Oh and a regatta in June on the 3.7 square kilometres of waterways.
I hadn’t any OS travel planned later this year – but I’m rethinking that. Jinzhou is about 420km north-east of Beijing.