'Flowers are like children'
Updated: 2012-10-02 08:14
Jin Zhiyong, 31, a gardener with the Beijing Florascape Co Ltd, shares the joy and pain of creating the flower terrace decorations for the National Day celebrations.
Taking care of beautiful flowers is a nice job, but not when you have to cultivate and take care of so many types and make sure they will all remain in bloom for weeks.
I first helped make the centerpiece for the National Day flower terrace in Tian'anmen Square in 2008. This was the first time I was ill when handling flowers, something I had been doing for more than 10 years. This was because the job carries a great weight of responsibility and you have to overcome all sorts of difficulties.
Jin Zhiyong is one of the gardeners who helped create the flower terrace in Tian'anmen Square. [Photo/China Daily]
But all the pain turned to joy after the flower terrace was completed. I almost burst into tears looking at the flowers blooming in the square.
August and September are the most important months in the lead-up to the National Day flower display. I have to water the flowers eight times a day and trim the leaves. But although these tasks are laborious they are not the most difficult part. The real difficulty is controlling when the flowers will bloom, which means carefully regulating the amount of water and sunlight they receive.
Also placing the flowers in exactly the right places so they create the required design is not as easy as you might think, as it has to be done at night and the flowers must have fully bloomed for at least one week.
And we need to keep monitoring the display during the holidays, in case it gets damaged or someone picks one of the flowers.
Fragile and finicky though the flowers are, the delight and sense of accomplishment makes it all worthwhile. It's a complicated feeling seeing the flowers being packed up and transported to the square for display. It's like, seeing your daughter grow up from a little girl to a young lady about to get married.
Even though I have only been working to create the Tian'anmen Square flower terrace since 2008, the changes during the past few years have been remarkable. The flowers this year enjoy a uniform shape and rich colors.
Before I became involved with the National Day flower terrace in 2008, I didn't really understand how someone could fall in love with a pot of flowers. But now I get it. You develop a connection with the flowers after months of caring for them. They make you proud. They are no longer plants but your children that you give all your time and care to.
After the flowers finish their National Day mission, we try to reuse as many as possible. Those still in bloom we display on other occasions, but those that have drooped and withered we mix with leaves and soil and mash and sieve to create a more nutritious soil for later use. The soil with the remains of the plants is much better for growing flowers.
Jin Zhiyong was talking to China Daily reporter Zheng Xin.