Peony business fuels city development
(chinadaily.com.cn)| Updated : 2021-04-13Print Print
A series of peony-themed events, namely the 2021 World Peony Conference, the 30th Heze International Peony Culture Tourism Festival, and the 2021 Heze Cultural Tourism Development Conference are now in full swing in Heze, Shandong province, bringing hordes of tourists and enormous business opportunities to the "peony capital of China".
Visitors take photos of blooming peonies in Heze, Shandong province. [Photo by Wang Qian/provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
With a history of over 1,500 years of peony cultivation, Heze is the country's largest base for the cultivation, research, sale, and export of peonies.
After several years of industrial chain extension and cultivation, the peony business in Heze has developed from sightseeing to producing various peony-related products with high added value, including seed oil, tea, cosmetics and healthy food.
Peony-themed cultural and creative products, such as silk, paper-cuts and handicrafts, can also be found at the market.
April is the best time for people to appreciate peony in Heze. [Photo by Wang Qian/provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
"Peony is our city flower, is our pride. Every year I come here with my family to appreciate the blooming peonies and buy some potted plants," said a local citizen surnamed Zhang at the Caozhou Flower Garden.
"I am called a peony ambassador by my clients as I always promote the flower of my hometown on business trips," he said. "I sincerely hope that more people will get to know about our peony and our peony industry."
Caozhou Flower Garden is one of the most recommended destinations in Heze to admire peony flowers. Spanning an area of 1.06 million square meters, it is home to hundreds of thousands of peonies of more than 1,200 varieties. Over 500 peonies there are more than 100 years old.
Now the garden receives nearly 5,000 visitors daily during the peony flowering period.
Another eight gardens, including the Baihua Garden, the Gujin Garden, and the China Peony Garden, are also recommended by local culture and tourism authorities as good places to admire the flowers.
Peony yellow rice wine [Photo by Wang Qian/provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
According to the top official of Heze, the city has intensified efforts to promote its peony culture to the world by cultivating landmark cultural and tourism festivals and building brands for peony-related products.
Heze has attached great importance to the inheritance and development of peony planting and cultivation with modern techniques. Today, Heze peony has nine color systems and 1,259 varieties.
Heze has cultivated potted peony, which is more suitable for home decoration and nurturing. It has also launched the "fresh cut flower" variety of peony for the contemporary flower arrangement market.
Peony seed oil [Photo by Wang Qian/provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
Accelerating the high-quality development of peony industry has been included in the city's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) and goals for the year 2035.
The city has launched a slew of measures to facilitate the development of the whole industry chain of peony business. It is now home to 14 peony processing enterprises engaged in the research and development, production and sales of peony-related products, with more than 240 kinds of peony cosmetics, peony toiletries and functional foods developed.
More than 100,000 people are engaged in peony planting, processing and sales in the city.
"Peony seedlings, oil and other products are mainly exported to more than 30 countries such as Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Russia, with an annual output value exceeding 100 million yuan ($15.3 million)," said Wu Yonghua, president of Heze Peony Chamber of Commerce.
A visitor takes a close look at peony-themed ornamentation. [Photo by Wang Qian/provided to chinadaily.com.cn]