Water has played an important role in Suzhou as early as thousands of years ago. In the old days, people lived along the rivers and traveled by wupeng boats, or black-awning boats. They savored shuibaxian, or eight different water products, while speaking pleasant-sounding Wu dialect. The people here have the personality of a gentle and genial nature. Now spring is back to this artistic, Venetian city and life is alive in everything.

Spring is the season when flowers bloom. A breeze blows across the water and the spring sonata begins, pulling back the curtain on some of the most romantic stories. Cherry blossoms are popping out early on branches while peach trees begin to bud. If you open the window in the morning, you may mistake pear trees in full bloom on a hillside for snows on branches while the wisteria in a courtyard looks like a purple waterfall hanging in mid-air …

Yangcheng Lake Peninsula – Cherry Blossom

Located at the northeast of the city, Yangcheng Lake is one of the three largest freshwater lakes in Suzhou. Yangcheng Lake becomes famous for its rich aquatic products, especially the hairy crabs, which are very popular all over China. Nonetheless, during March and April every year when it is not the hairy crab season, the Xianying Lake Park on Yangcheng Lake Peninsula would attract a few tourists to watch the cherry blossom. Dense cherry trees line a thousand-meter-long road, but there is neither sound nor fury of crowds. Only once in a while, you may come across tourists in twos and threes standing under cherry trees with a look of contentment on their faces when a warm spring breeze showers them with a profusion of blossoms.

Jinji Lake – Peach Blossom Island

Located in the middle of Suzhou Industrial Park, Jinji Lake is different from the primitive simplicity and exquisiteness of the old downtown area of Suzhou. It features a fashionable and prosperous style, with water screen films, Ferris wheels over water, music fountains, and modern sculptures. Nonetheless, the Peach Blossom Island in the lake lends its urbanity a natural, rustic charm. Nearly 80 acres of peach trees are blossoming abundantly like a spectacular sunrise and seem to be swarming and hugging each other on the branches. Chinese people tend to associate peach blossom with love, and often use “peach blossom luck” to describe one who is popular and attractive to the opposite sexes. A forest of peach blossom always brings joy to everyone who is ready to fall in love and be thrilled to the very edges of their souls by a flower in spring bloom.

 

Taihu Lake – Pear Tree Blossom of Luli, Xishan

“As though a gust of spring wind swept past overnight, bringing thousands upon thousands of pear trees into bloom.” This line is part of a noted poem in China that describes a snow scene, but one may imagine from the verses how pear tree flowers are blooming like snow pressing branches. Located in the Taihu Lake, Xishan Island is the largest freshwater lake island in China. Every spring, the Luli Ancient Village on the island is clothed with white flowers and pear tree flowers everywhere look like clouds or snow. With such a magnificent scene before their eyes, the ancients invented a lovely name, “Pear Cloud of Luli”. People in the city love to visit the ancient village in such a bright, breezy season, and smell the faint fragrance of pear flowers in the air while listening to birds chirping in the mountains.

 

Humble Administrator’s Garden – Wisteria

The rising to fame of the wisteria in Humble Administrator’s Garden is related to a notable Chinese literatus, Wen Zhengming (1470-1559), who was a painter during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and planted this wisteria himself. After nearly 440 years, the wisteria is still vigorous with flowers blooming and fading. Wisteria symbolizes family prosperity and ancient Chinese literati liked to have this plant in their courtyards. Its interlacing vines are reflected in the water, making a charming, graceful picture. Therefore, wisteria can be seen in many classical gardens of Suzhou today. When wisteria reaches full bloom, it looks like a purple waterfall hanging down from the air. Flowers in different shades of purple clothe gnarled branches. Even the faint fragrance seems to be purplish and gently embraces the tourists who are lost in flowers.

In the spring of Suzhou where water and blooms fall in romantic encounters, every heart overflows with tenderness and poetical effusions. Spare two or three days every year for spring. Open your door and be a guest of blooms and a growing season. Get out there and make the most of this time of rebirth and rejuvenation.

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