Tag Archives: Silk Road

China Makes an Appearance at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

News and Travel Editor

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show has returned to the UK this week, a show famous for outrageous landscapes and gardens constructed from scratch in a matter of days (not to mention the appearance of every celebrity you can think of).

This year, China are making a special appearance in the form of a beautiful Silk Road garden showcasing Chengdu’s legendary history.

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is one of the most famous and most prestigious landscape garden and flower shows in the UK. Since 1912, the competition has showcased gardens from some of the biggest designers, architects and horticulturists around the world. How famous I hear you ask? Well, enough to bring the British Royals back year after year…

This year, architects  Laurie Chetwood and Patrick Collins have created a garden to end all gardens. It celebrates the ancient and ongoing links between east and west, featuring landscapes and flowers from both the east and west with a ‘Silk Road’ bridge to link the various elements. This is also one of the only gardens at the Show which can be viewed from all angles – nowhere to hide any of those pesky dead plants then…

All of the plants throughout the garden come from Sichuan Province in central China, an area famous for its rich and fertile environment. Many of the plants in the show garden actually first arrived in the UK hundreds of years ago via the ancient Silk Road, which is no surprise considering 20% of the world’s plants originate in China.

At the centre of this stunning miniature landscape is the symbol of the Sun and Immortal Bird Legend of Chengdu and the rising red platforms throughout the garden symbolise the mountainous paths in China and along the Silk Road. Both designers admitted that the road leading to the Show was a bumpy one and that many late nights were endured – They were even forced to line up cars with their headlights glaring on to the garden as the nights crept in!

Like us, you might not have a chance to visit the garden before the end of the week, but luckily, you’re able to fully immerse yourself via this link – https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=gxoTkgW7oMb&utm_source=4 – which is even better if you have a VR headset…

The medals have already been awarded with the Silk Road garden achieving an impressive Silver Gilt (only one short of the tantalising gold). Nevertheless, Collins admitted he was slightly disappointed with the award which is understandable, I mean, the garden is huge!

You can take a look at some of the other highlights from this year’s Show below.

What’s your favourite element of the garden? If you have visited Sichuan Province before, does this garden take you there? Let us know in the comments below!

A Journey Across Continents: The London to Yiwu Train

News and Travel Editor

Today marks the end of a historic 7,500 mile freight train journey from London, UK, to Yiwu, China. Carrying everything from pharmaceuticals to milk powder and soft drinks, it’s the first ever journey on this route and marks a significant moment for trading relations between the UK, Europe and China. But its not been without difficulty – the train has ventured through 9 countries, from freezing Russian wilderness to the mild climate of China’s eastern coast. This blog visits some of the highlights along its route and looks at why this train journey is so important.

This is the first ever direct cargo train carrying British goods from the UK to China. This may seem like a modern innovation, but the train is actually reviving the 2,000 year-old Silk Road, an ancient link between the east and west. As well as contributing to the recent Chinese initiative of the New Silk Road, transporting goods to China from the UK via freight train is twice as fast as transporting them by sea and the costs are tiny compared to transporting by air. This is a time and cost effective solution, not to mention it passes through 7,500 miles of glorious scenery.

Cosmopolitan Western Europe

After leaving London Gateway, the train passes through the bright lights of Western Europe, from Paris and Brussels to Duisberg and Warsaw. This sounds like a great opportunity for a whirlwind tour of Europe, aboard one of the most important freight trains in the world today.

The Freezing Russian Winter

Just as you’ve got used to the mild climate of western Europe, the train was fully immersed in the gloriously tropical  -40°C winters of the Russian wilderness. Beautiful it may be, there’s no doubt the train driver need their winter woolies.

The Plains of Kazakhstan and Xinjiang

Here, the journey becomes even more beautiful. The train has journeyed through thousands of miles of beautiful plains of grassland, mountains and deserts. Where do we sign up to be the driver again?

Yiwu: The Final Destination

After 7,500 miles, the train has travelled through virtually every landscape and climate imaginable, and has finally arrived in Yiwu, one of China’s manufacturing and international trading centres. We can expect the train to make many more trips over the next few years, with other Silk Road trains making the trip up to 500 times each year! Judging from the photos of highlights along the route, one thing is for certain: whoever gets the job of driving the train halfway across the world is the luckiest person in the world.