Gardens are divinely beautiful – a serene place to relax, reflect and clear the mind. Gardening is therapeutic and rewarding, not only for adults, but for children as well. Exotic plants not normally seen natively can be purchased online or through the mail. While deciding to plant a backyard oasis, be sure to read up on organic soil building and how to best prepare for planting.
One of the coolest gardening regions in the world is in China. While the United States and Canada combined only have about 20,000 native plants, China is home to about 31,000 different plant species. That accounts for about 1/8th of the world’s plant species! Grow these in a home garden or greenhouse and create a peaceful haven like no one else in the state!
The following plants and trees are stunning examples of the flora and fauna of exotic Chinese gardens:
The plum trees in America originated in China. These trees bloom brilliantly in spring and are breathtakingly beautiful. While their pastel pink blossoms are quite beautiful, their sweet perfume is their trademark. A blooming plum tree can emit a lovely scent throughout a neighborhood. Very few people regret planting plum trees in their yards, as they are a short tree that provides plenty of shade, bloom beautifully in spring and afford a heavy harvest of delicious plums in the fall.
Poplars bloom with brilliantly bright yellow flowers closely resembling tulips. This fast growing tree reaches a height of 15 to 20 feet high in just three years. Plenty of space and spring sunshine are what these trees need. If properly placed and cared for, this tree will come into full bloom in its second year. The flowers are brightly colored and stay on the tree for weeks.
More of a shrub than a tree, attaining a height of four to five feet and a girth of three to four feet. Native to China, this sweet smelling blossoming tree prefers moist, well-drained soil and full sun. White and pink flowers float to the ground and small, cherry red fruits mature later into almonds. To get an idea of what this tree will smell like while in full bloom, go to the store and buy a bottle of almond extract. When blooming, these flowers emit a very similar aroma.
This showy tree is stately and statuesque. Known well throughout America, saplings are available in numerous varieties across the country.Some of the most popular varieties include Cherokee Chief, Flowering Dogwood, Carnelian Cherry, Japanese Dogwood, Pagoda Dogwood, Pacific Dogwood, etc. Reaching 33 feet or higher, dogwood trees can flower white, red, or pink. They also change foliage from green to spectacular shades of reds and purples. This tree prefers full sun and does well in most soils.
The majestic height of the Catalpa tree is between 40 to 60 feet with a rounded and upright crown. Leaves are large, up to one foot across, and are heart shaped. Young families often enjoy these trees because they are great for tree houses. Flowering with pristine white blossoms, these flowers are reminiscent of orchids. Blossoms may be red, yellow and purple. Blooming occurs in spring and early summer, though not before the tree has matured for at least seven years.
Known worldwide as the “Flame of the Forest,” the gulmohar tree is known for its bright orange flowers that burst into bloom in the spring and summer. Originally from Madagascar, this tree was introduced to the Americas by explorers. Reaching a height of 20 to 30 feet, this tree can grow in most soils. However, it will only flower when planted in full sun.
A deciduous member of the rose family, the Hawthorn tree is native to the Mediterranean area, including North Africa, Europe and Central Asia. Living nearly 400 years, it has the ability to flower twice per year with snowy white, red, or pink flowers. These grow flat clusters of gorgeous flowers that lay nestled between bright green leaves. In the autumn flowers give way to large, glossy, red berries.
Pink Poui Tree
Also known as Tabebuia Rosea, the Pink Poui Tree is an evergreen variety that grows to an enormous height of 78 to 80 feet with a width of 30 to 50 feet. Long branches afford plenty of shade during the hot summer months, making this a favorite of landscapers and designers. The tree loses its foliage before flowering with double petaled pink, white, yellow or purple flowers in midsummer. This tree and all of its parts have are used in various medicines.
These flowering cactuses are lovely in sunny spots. Leaves are rather succulent, so watering often is unnecessary. Blooms are bright white or pink in color. These plants look very tropical, but can live without the water and care requirements of other tropical plants. Do not eat this plant, as it can cause hallucinations. These are an excellent flower if you are learning about aquaponic tank gardening.
In Chinese culture, chrysanthemums symbolize strength. For this reason, chrysanthemums are included in bouquets given to women after giving birth and to the elderly in hospitals. These flowers are reminiscent of American mums, though the petals are softer, fuller and thicker. They are perfect for adding color to fall gardens.
Narcissus, or daffodils are named after woodland nymph. Reminiscent of an unrequited love, these flowers bloom in the early spring. Their scent is light, as are their colors. Chinese Narcissus flowers give off shoots that are loaded with clusters of flowers. Plant these in beds and enjoy their early but short-lived glory.
Chinese orchids are quite temperamental. Grown throughout Asia, most flowers won’t survive without the perfect environment. Plants must have sufficient water and good drainage. Many orchids can be found growing in protected nooks and crannies in mountains. Roots are flat and tuberous. Orchids are very valuable to collectors, as their colors and scents are delicate but unmistakable.
The lotus flower is sacred in the Buddhist religion and in Chinese culture. This flower represents purity because it grows from the filthiest mud, unstained and untainted. According to Chinese botany, lotus flowers should begin to bloom on April 8th and continue until the first frost. Lotus flowers are remarkable in appearance, and in their ability to grow and float atop water. The roots are edible and are quite powerful for curing a number of different ailments. The lotus flower is a favorite of landscape photographers and students learning the trade.
An azalea can take the form of a shrub, hedge, dwarf tree or even a bonsai tree. These bushes are very hardy and can be planted in five US growing zones. The flowers are normally bright pink, but can also be purchased in white, pinkish orange or pale yellow. Bushes and shrubs will bloom in the spring and last for several weeks. Plant in the shade for the best results.
In China, the lilac bush represents modesty and virtue. If considering planting lilacs, plan on keep them under control, or they will take over a yard. Bushes will reach up to eight feet in height. Lilacs are one of the first bushes or hedges to bloom in the spring, and some varieties will continue to bloom again and again throughout the growing season. Their distinctive scent is absolutely lovely, and flowers range from brilliant violet to deep purple to white. Plant a row of these along fences for ultimate privacy.
This rose bush is stunning grown in the corners of yards, near water features or growing along arbors. Chinese roses grow to a height of about six feet. These rose bushes have been cultivated to encourage heavier blooms of several different colors and numbers of petals. Chinese roses give off a rich, sweet scent that is prized by the perfume industry. Plant these along backyard fences and place tiki torches or solar lights close to them to create a romantic love nest.
Chinese plants are exotic, beautiful and fun to grow. Enjoy time with family and friends basking in the glow of these lovely plants. Learn more about medicinal herbs used in Chinese medicine and begin to grow plants used as natural remedies too!