A blooming success in Tian'anmen
Updated: 2013-10-01 10:12
A floral structure in Beijing's Dongdan shopping area. [Photo by Wang Jing/China Daily]
Li Haibo's eagle eye missed nothing as he oversaw preparations for a giant floral basket, the centerpiece of this year's National Day display in Beijing's Tian'anmen Square.
Standing on a steel terrace overlooking bustling crowds of tourists, Li carefully marked the location of each artificial flower before it adorned the basket.
The floral display is a National Day routine observed by Li, an award-winning flower expert, for 21 years.
"My job could attract world attention - it is of great importance to me," he said.
Li is one of the more than 800 workers with the Beijing Flowers and Trees Corp who were racing to complete the floral display on Sept 16, ready for it to open to the public nine days later.
This year's floral arrangement carries the theme of "Building a beautiful China and realizing the Chinese Dream".
For the display, a steel frame for the flower basket, 18.2 meters high and 15 meters in diameter, was erected in Tian'anmen Square.
Another 10 floral displays, portraying landscapes or with cartoon themes, were being placed along Chang'an Avenue.
Construction of these displays began on Sept 15. They will be on view throughout the National Day holiday before being taken down in late October.
Lan Hailang, chief engineer with the company's design department, said: "For us, it's like the annual Spring Festival Gala on China Central Television. The square is at the center of national and world attention, and we are trying to come up with the best display we can present."
With artificial flowers and fruit, including peonies, yulan (magnolia), lilies, flat peaches, apples and grapes, along with 12 pots of poinsettia, the basket is designed to send "blessings to the motherland".
"The selection of each kind of flower or fruit carries a meaning. For example, in Chinese culture the peony symbolizes wealth, the flat peach longevity, while apples mean well-being," Lan said.
The design of the giant basket takes its inspiration from a work by painter Ding Liangguang of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
The design team also sought the opinions of experts. "We also studied numerous samples to get the right color for the flowers and fruit," Lan added.
The giant basket also features in a 3-D display that will be shown every 30 minutes during the National Day holiday, said Shang Yan, assistant general manager with the Beijing Flowers and Trees Corp, who is in charge of this project.
The basket is surrounded by a flower bed 50 meters in diameter, which will feature flowers including cockscombs, red-spotted stonecrops, begonias and impatiens walleriana.
Shang said these flowers undergo a strict selection process, as they are supposed to be bright and compact, the same height, and most important, free of disease and pests.
The flowers are selected from the best available at the company's nurseries in Beijing's northwestern suburbs.