Text by Yang Liqun
Before the dust kicked up by the truck had settled, scavengerswere jumping off to rummage through trashfor valuables. This was the scene of Big Sand Hole onthe bank of Yongding River in 2008. The environmentwas characterized by scavengers’ shabby houses, dusty roads andtrash strewn across the land.
Five years later,Big Sand Hole has transformed into a sunkengarden and received a beautiful new name: Splendid Valley. The9th China (Beijing) International Garden Expo contributed to allthese improvements.
Splendid Valley is just one scenic spot of the Garden Expo Park.Others include Museums of Gardens, Yongding Pagoda, the main pavilionof the Expo, and other various garden landscapes. Garden ExpoPark lies in Changxindian Town of Fengtai District, at the Fengtaisection of the old canal from western Yongding River. Due to sandexcavation in the 1970s, the old canal deteriorated into a massive hole.Later, 140 hectares of it became a landfill for building material waste,which attracted over 2,000 scavengers and their accompanying temporaryshelters which covered more than 20,000 square meters.
“When the wind blew, our village was engulfed in dust andthe smell of sewage,” recalls Miao Changfu, a resident of Zhangguozhuang,a village two kilometers from Garden Expo Park.Despite such awful conditions, it was chosen as the site for theGarden Expo. “To build a garden in such conditions is challenging,”remarks Zhang Jianguo, deputy head of Fengtai District.“But when we succeeded, it became a blueprint for the world. Ourdesign concept, construction and ecological restoration will leavean invaluable treasure for all.”
Fengtai District took its own development into considerationwhen selecting the site of the Garden Expo. “Getting a garden wasnot our final goal,” Zhang explains. “The most important aim wasaccelerating our development. Through this event, we can attractmore conferences, which will inject vitality into all of our industriesand ultimately leave our people better off.”