The closing ceremony of Expo 2021 Yangzhou was held on 8 October in the ecological garden park of Zaolinwan Tourist Resort, in the Yangtze River Delta Region of Jiangsu province, China.
There is no doubt, the coronavirus pandemic impacted but did not deter, this major international horticultural Expo. It was hosted with approval from the International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH).
The Final Report from Expo 2021 Yangzhou demonstrates that through adversity came stories of strong leadership, agile planning, and the overwhelming spirit of resilience. After five years of preparation and then facing the impact of Covid-19, the organisers insisted on ensuring progress and quality. The organisers – National Forestry and Grassland Administration, China Flower Association and Jiangsu Provincial Government – overcame the difficulties and challenges for the show to begin on time on 8 April and successfully closed on 8 October.
Since ancient times, the Yangzhou people have attached great importance to a love of growing ornamental plants. The Yangtze River Delta Region is historically famous for its traditional Chinese gardening techniques and renowned for Penjing (Chinese Bonsai) and beautiful gardens.
This Expo demonstrated its rich cultivating history, spanning 230 hectares and 100 gardens in the Yangtze River Delta Region. It contained 1,500 plant species including 27,800 trees and 770,000 square metres of shrubs. The flower borders were regularly maintained and innovatively changed for each season – spring, summer, and autumn.
Expo 2021 Yangzhou’s theme was ‘green city, health life’, and this sentiment permeated the Expo with over a thousand educational and sensory activities for all visitors. It attracted nearly 2.2 million visitors online and offline from China and abroad, despite having to close for a period due to COVID. Innovative technology played a huge part in tracking and keeping the daily 55,000 visitors safe, with a team of more than 600 volunteers on site.
Historically, Yangzhou was an important trading centre at the Silk and Maritime Silk Roads intersection. This Expo involved horticultural producers from all over the world, creating gardens on site. For example, landscapers recreating capital cities – St Petersburg, Russia; Bangkok, Thailand; Rome, Italy; Fukuoka, Japan. Other participant installations came from international organisations such as INBAR, WGDO, WCCO, and enterprises such as SAIC Volkswagen, Jiangsu Huajian, Hongyue Hongcai. Other themed international gardens such as The Van Gogh Garden from Breda, the Netherlands; Window of Philadelphia, Garden of USA; African’s Djibouti Garden and Australia Blue Mountains
The Expo 2021 Yangzhou International Competition had three parts: an outdoor exhibition garden, an indoor exhibition area and a unique flower gardening competition. The International Bamboo and Rattan Organization (INBAR) Garden, Shanghai Garden, and Yangzhou Garden won the AIPH Award. The INBAR Garden and Japan’s Fukuoka Garden won the International Exhibition Garden Award. Shanghai Garden and Beijing Garden won the China Garden Award. The Yangzhou Garden won the Jiangsu City award. Hongcai Garden won the college and enterprise exhibition garden award. The Yangzhou exhibition area won the Jiangsu Indoor Exhibition Area Award, and 42 award-winning works were selected in five flower gardening competitions.
AIPH Secretary General and chair of the international honorary jury, Tim Briercliffe says: “What Yangzhou have achieved with this Expo is outstanding. In a year when most of the world was staying at home, Yangzhou has shown us all what can be done. I sincerely congratulate all those involved in making this Expo such a success and to all those that created the amazing gardens”.
As the worlds champions for the power of plants, AIPH fully supports the Expo organisers’ efforts to raise the profile of plants and gardens and highlight the importance they play in making better lives and creating better cities for the future.
The success of the Expo has brought future infrastructure investment of more than 40 billion RMB into Yizheng’s Central Hilly Eco-belt.