Water Lily Season at Guyi Gardens

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On this humid day in Shanghai, the sky is the color of sea foam and the air hangs heavily on our shoulders, we feel it as we walk down the street, eyes hungering after ice cold water and the breeze from the neighboring convenient store’s open doors.

(Apologies again, this is one of many belated posts regarding my summer in Shanghai)

img_1877_zpsrxxgfolgWe arrived at Guyi Garden in the midst of the summer heat. It was morning yet the sun had already emerged in full bloom along with the garden’s water lilies. img_1826_zpscln3n6wb

Located in Nanxiang of the Jiading District, Guyi Garden has been around since the Ming Dynasty when it served as a private garden to a magistrate. Through the dynasties, the garden continued to expand and transform into what it is today: a public space for enjoying nature, conversation, morning exercise routines, and gatherings of retired friends playing cards.

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Guyi Garden follows a classical Jiangnan style design with a focus on water, tiled curving roofs, wooden interiors, stone animals and mountains, and blooming flowers – overall, capturing an elegant but natural atmosphere.

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We entered the gardens along with crowds of retired citizens, many stocked with cameras and personal equipment.

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I wish I had the concentration and dedication of these photographers….img_1676_zpsyvzedwrb

Water lily before blooming~

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A peach colored water lily in bloom~new_zpsltumh5zs

So beautiful ahh ~ The water reflections reminded me of Hangzhou’s beautiful West Lake and my time there.

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Koi fish in the river ~

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I think I could spend hours here just like the many people gazing into the water and listening to crickets nestled in the leaves. Despite the busyness, there is a overwhelming sense of peace.

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Misted garden filled with potted water lilies and eager photographers.img_1728_zpswn5izweb

An elderly photographer took the time to give tips on how to take photographs of the water lilies ~ thank you kind sir 🙂

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When I retire, I’m going to make it my goal to go around the country photographing flowers as well (that and sleeping all day….*dreams*)img_1702_zpsdkf4ttvf

*continues to be mesmerized* img_1718_zpshq9jtf7l

One of my earliest memories of lilies is of my aunt preparing a sweet soup with lily buds, lotus seeds, gogi berries, dates, and longan. While lily buds have a seemingly innocent appearance, they have a devastatingly bitter interior that I would remember for many years after. img_1810_zpsvcpivp2n

Reflections ~img_1788_zpst5fwt6fm

With over 400 years of history, Guyi Garden is a destination I recommend to photographers and non-photographers alike who are seeking a not too tourist location to enjoy the beautiful Chinese architecture and landscape. img_1681_zps42migh1n

Guyi Garden’s admission fee is a mere 12 yuan (around $2 USD) and even free for children.

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However, the best part is that Nanxiang Old Town is also right around the corner for who those who are searching for a lunch break or afternoon snack. (Another recommendation – I heard their Xiao Long Bao are a specialty!) img_1967_zpsmtluahwv

 

 

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