The Confucius Institute at Bangor University, UK, organizes “The Chinese Plants” seminar
— The Chinese Garden Project warm-up activities
On April 4, 2014, a novel Chinese plants seminar was convened in Treborth, the biggest botanic garden located at North Wales. The seminar was the warm-up activity of the Chinese Garden Project co-organized by the Confucius Institute and the School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography (SENRG). The seminar explained to the plant enthusiasts about the characteristics of Chinese plants, the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden Programme and the plans on building a Chinese garden in the Treborth Botanic Garden.
The idea of the Chinese Garden Project was proposed by Ms. Sophie Williams at SENRG, Bangor University. Sophie came to the Confucius Institute last September and talked to Professor Zhang Liying about the idea of building a Chinese garden in the Treborth Botanic Garden. Considering British people’s love for garden and its importance as a place for social activities, Prof. Zhang thought that building a Chinese garden in Treborth is of great significance in promoting the influence of Chinese culture. She promptly responded to the suggestion and visited the Treborth Botanic Garden immediately, further discussing with Mr. Nigel Brown, Curator of the Treborth Botanic Garden.
Sophie’s affection for China has been long-standing. She has been in the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden Programme supported by the British Council for many years and spends a certain period of time in Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanic Garden in China every year. Sophie has an in-depth study on Chinese plants. The Treborth Botanic Garden is the teaching base for the botanical study of Bangor University. The construction of the Chinese garden is also a support to the botanical study of the University. The Chinese Garden Project will gain supports from organizations such as British Council and experts in Chinese plants from London and Edinburg. Prof. Zhang and Dr. David Joyner of the CI will be the consultants on the Chinese culture and Chinese elements of the Project.
The seminar was hosted by Sophie. The first speaker talked about the distribution and features of Chinese plants. Sophie focused on introducing the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanic Garden Programme. Later, Sam, the designer of the Chinese garden shared his design ideas. His design emphasized on the plants. Prof. Zhang indicated that if there were only plants and little landscape design, the garden could hardly reflect its Chinese features. Therefore she suggested adding some rocky hills (considering there are abundant slate resources in North Wales), stone tables and chairs for rest, bamboo piping systems, bamboo pavilions, bamboo bridges and bamboo gates, which are cheap but could reflect Chinese elements very easily. Dr. David Joyner, Executive Director of the CI also shared his thoughts on the Chinese garden. They then carried on-site investigation of the Chinese garden in order to ensure that the design was practical. The Chinese Garden Programme will consist of a series of activities including the Chinese plants exhibition, Chinese garden exhibition and Chinese plants seminars.
Ms. Sophie Williams initiated the idea of Chinese garden. Prof. Zhang gave active response and immediately visited the Treborth Botanic Garden. Prof. Zhang also engaged in further discussions with Mr. Nigel Brown, the curator of the Treborth Botanic Garden.
Sophie hosting the Chinese Plants Seminar
Plant enthusiasts from the community and teachers of the CI participating in the seminar
Sam, designer of the Chinese garden sharing his ideas and Prof. Zhang drawing Chinese elements for the design
Dr. David Joyner, Executive Director of the CI giving his speech
On-site investigation of the Chinese garden