Golden Petals of the Chrysanthemum City

Chrysanthemum City“Golden Petals of the Chrysanthemum City” is one of the “Ten Scenic Spots” of Zhongshan, referring to the petals in Xiaolan Town, Zhongshan City. Xiaolan people have kept their practice of flower cultivation for several hundred years. From end to end of each street, from the courtyard to the flowerbed, from the balcony to the roof of each household, a wide range of chrysanthemum varieties prevail. Whenever the golden fall comes, the colorful chrysanthemums reign the whole town. The golden petals always take the dominance of their flower folks forming a chrysanthemum city of golden petals living up to its reality.

Behind the name of the “Golden Petals of the Chrysanthemum City,” there is a bitter touching story. In Xianchun Reign of the Song Dynasty, an imperial concubine called Su fled the Imperial Palace by risking her life in pursuit of marriage of happiness, and took refuge in Zhuji Alley of Nanxiong, Guangdong Province. Emperor Duzong dispatched his armies to track her down, killing innocent people all along their way. At the time, in Zhuji Alley, there lived many businessmen seeking shelter from chaos caused by war, and hearing this news, they proceeded with their southward movement to Xiaolan, Xiangshan County (the present-day Zhongshan City). The golden wild chrysanthemums all over the fertile fields and hills, and the moderate climate urged them to settle down there. They cleared land for farming and cultivating chrysanthemums from then on has become the popular practice for the local people.

In the 19th year of Jiaqing Reign of the Qing Dynasty (1814), to commemorate their ancestors’ creation of this town, the Xiaolan people held their first chrysanthemum fair by the joint effort of over 10 local chrysanthemum guilds, and they made it a rule that every 60 years a similar fair should be held. The 1994 one reached its peak ever by showing its more than 500 thousand pots of flowers of over 1,500 varieties during 17 days, and receiving almost 8 million visitors both at home and from abroad. Chrysanthemum has become the medium for them to establish trade routes and friendship for the world to understand Xiaolan. In promoting the economy of Xiaolan, chrysanthemums have contributed tremendously.

The best way to see the grand spectacle of the chrysanthemums is, of course, to view them in person at a fair, but it is indeed once in a blue moon. You are not, however, to feel despondent, for from October to November every year in each fall, a small chrysanthemum exhibition is held along the major streets, and in the parks of Xiaolan. But a “small” one does not mean that it is literally small, for there are about 100 thousand pots of over 1 thousand varieties. Besides, at this time, you not only are lucky enough to enjoy the miens of the illustrious chrysanthemums, but have the fortune to enjoy the chrysanthemum fish balls, chrysanthemum cakes, chrysanthemum meats, chrysanthemum-brewed wine, and other chrysanthemum-related dishes at a chrysanthemum banquet. So a small exhibition can satisfy both your eyes and mouth.

If you have the interest, you may visit the urban and suburban construction in continuous movement here. In the single year of 1994, the city invested 2.6 billion RMB yuan in 112 projects in the new city area. It lives up to its “China’s Star for the City and Countryside Alike,” “One of the 100 Towns of Best Investment Environment,” “National Sanitary Town,” and “Top Civilized Town of Guangdong Province.”

In Xiaolan, there are also the Twin-Beauty Bridge of the Ming Dynasty, the Fresh Water Well of Plum Blossom, He’s Temple (Mr. He, ancestor of the He family in Guangdong Province, and a once major minister of an emperor in the Ming Dynasty), the People’s Park, the Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery. Do not miss them!

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