Burgeoning gardening economy revitalizes rural tourism in Sichuan

© Provided by Xinhua

CHENGDU, May 18 (Xinhua) — About one hour’s drive from the main venue of International Horticultural Exhibition 2024 Chengdu, villages in Leshan City of Sichuan Province, are reaping the benefits of the flourishing gardening industry to decorate the daily life of its residents, while revitalizing the local economy via eco-tourism.

Since its completion in April 2022, the rose garden in Jiang’an Flower Village, Mianzhu Township of Leshan, has attracted about 180,000 visitors.

“The daily maintenance, management, and supporting services of the rose garden have not only brought employment opportunities to the surrounding residents and increased their incomes by a total of over 200,000 yuan (about 28,170 U.S. dollars), but also turned the deserted land into an internet-famous site,” said Cheng Xiaoying, who is in charge of the garden’s operation.

Cheng also plans to build the rose garden into a research and learning base for nearby schools, where students can learn from Mother Nature directly through picking fruits and other activities instead of relying on textbooks.

In the rose garden, workers can be seen busy watering, deworming and fertilizing under the sun.

“I’m glad to see the influx of visitors to our rose garden every single day since it was opened. For a person at my age, it is not easy to find a job near your home that you really like,” said Tong Guilan, a 47-year-old villager living in the nearby Mianzhupu Community.

Tong earns 120 yuan a day by working at the garden. “Now more than 20 villagers in our village have landed their job at their doorsteps just like me,” she added.

In 2023, the per capita annual income of residents in Tong’s community reached 43,200 yuan, an increase of 200 percent compared with 2016.

In another village of Leshan, Guanyin Village, local farmers are fertilizing and weeding in the jasmine fields, in the run-up to the jasmine harvest season at the end of this month.

“The local government has led us to develop jasmine planting and strongly supported us in terms of stabilizing flower prices, channeling the market, and improving industrial technologies,” said Liu Zhengtian, a local farmer in Guanyin Village of Qingxi Township. Last year, Liu planted more than 6 mu (about 0.4 hectares) of jasmine flowers.

At present, Guanyin Village has more than 4,000 mu of jasmine, and Qingxi Township boasts more than 25,000 mu of jasmine. Qingxi jasmine planting area now ranks first in southwest China, with its annual output value of jasmine tea topping 224 million yuan.

Leshan has strived to develop its flower planting industry, from simple planting to the deep integration of primary, secondary and tertiary industries, making the local natural scenery become a leading industry sector and a cash cow for its farmers.

In late April, the International Horticultural Exhibition 2024 Chengdu opened in Chengdu, capital city of Sichuan Province. The expo’s flourishing gardens will be on display from April 26 to Oct. 28.

“With the help of the expo, we hope to further promote our cultural tourism projects in combination with Leshan’s popular tourist attractions, to attract more visitors and purchasers,” said Zhu Wenhui, director of the neighborhood committee of Mianzhupu Community.

“We also want to invite more urbanites in Chengdu to travel to the countryside at weekends and make our village their ‘backyard garden’ so that they can feel the great changes of the rural areas and their cultures,” Zhu added.