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Villagers in Rugao benefit from gardening industry

By Jiang Ting chinadaily.com.cn Updated: 2019-11-20


Rugao residents plant bonsais in front of their houses to sell. [Photo by Xu Congjun/provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Villagers in Rugao, a county-leval city in Nantong, East China's Jiangsu province, are able to earn themselves a decent living thanks to the area's thriving gardening industry.

In Guzhuang village, Rugao, known as the home of bonsais in China, nearly all residents have botanical skills and grow bonsais inside and outside their houses, making the village a production and exhibition center for the bonsai industry.

The 2.32-square kilometer village receives hundreds of visitors every day. "People from around China come here to buy bonsais and will barter with us when they find one they like," said Huang Xingmei, a 51-year-old villager in Guzhuang, while taking care of some box trees in her garden.

Huang has one-third of a hectare of planting area and uses it to generate more than 500,000 yuan ($71,349) per year, serving as a major source of income for her family.

She thanked the village government for their efforts to develop a gardening industry in the village.


Seniors in Guzhuang are able to make money by cultivating bonsais at home. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Every garden displays a contact number for those interested in buying anything. The village has also set up fingerposts to demarcate the gardens and make touring them easier for buyers.

A total of 881 families in Guzhuang are engaged in the industry and 160 villagers are considered "high-level gardeners". Expertise in garden design and landscape engineering contributes to the popularity of local plant products, which have entered markets in more than 10 countries and regions.

Zhu Songhui, Party secretary of Guzhuang, said the village's gardening tradition dates back to the 1980s. "Now they are learing to sell and promote their products through e-commerce platforms and short online videos."

Local residents also cooperated with universities and institutes to develop more scientific planting methods.

Next to Guzhuang lies Rugao's International Garden City -- a 66-hectare marketplace with numerous types of bonsais produced by horticulture enterprises and renowned gardeners. The Garden City provided 100,000 jobs and generated 17 billon yuan in revenue in 2018, enhancing Rugao's strength in the gardening industry.