Setting A New Standard in World Horticultural Expos
by Penelope Tomkins

Expo 2019 Beijing, the AIPH approved A1 World Horticultural Exhibition, dazzled millions of visitors with six months of spectacular horticultural displays and events, from its official opening on 28th April until 9th October 219.

Expo 2019 Beijing was the world’s largest-ever horticultural Expo. The 503-hectare Expo park, located amidst the mountains of Beijing’s Yanqing District, welcomed 9.34 million, 110 international participants and hosted almost 3,000 cultural events, conferences, horticultural competitions and flower parades. The Expo sought to share centuries of Chinese horticultural wisdom and spread horticultural knowledge around the world.


AIPH-approved

In 2012, the Expo gained the approval of the International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH), the organisation responsible for approving, regulating and monitoring World Horticultural Exhibitions. Sponsors, supporters and organisers of the Expo included: the Chinese government; the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade; the Expo Coordination Bureau and AIPH’s member in China – the China Flower Association.

At the Expo’s grand opening ceremony, Chinese President Xi Jinping gave a speech disseminating aspirations for green development and ecological civilisation to audiences in China and around the world. Over 900 representatives, including foreign heads of state, special envoys from eleven countries and heads of international organisations, attended the event which asserted, on a global stage, the essential role of horticulture in creating a greener planet.

 

Live Green to Live Better

The Expo theme ‘Live Green Live Better’ embodied the ethos that the application of horticulture is a pre-requisite for living better. Practical applications of ‘living green’, such as sustainable landscape strategies, biophilic designs and biodiverse habitats, were exhibited in exquisite and harmonious display gardens, whilst a programme of national and provincial days, cultural shows and flower parades demonstrated a universal interconnection between humankind and horticulture. As part of an educational programme, the Expo hosted forums and conferences on topics such as sponge cities and vertical forests to explore innovations for the application of living green into people’s live.

 

A site to behold

Designed to champion the spirit of respecting and integrating nature, the Expo park exemplified its theme. During construction, 50,000 trees were preserved, and 100,000 trees and shrubs were planted to improve the condition of wetlands, purify water and provide a habitat for migratory birds.

The site accommodated impressive, ecologically designed structures of which the most popular amongst visitors were the 23,000m2 China Pavilion, the Botanical Pavilion, the Yongning Tower and the Life Experience Pavilion. Against these intriguing architectural and horticultural focus points, the expansive outdoor horticultural zones, backed by the meandering Guishui River offered endless paths of enjoyable exploration.

 

The International Competition Awards

n the 8th October the award ceremony of Expo’s International Competition was held. Fulfilling the requirements of the AIPH A1 Expo Regulations, the ten members of the AIPH International Honorary Jury visited the Expo gardens three times throughout its six-month duration. The gardens were assessed on the quality of their design, construction, plants and maintenance, as well as their incorporation of the Expo theme. The five winning gardens of the AIPH Grand Awards were: the Beijing Indoor Area (Chinese Provinces, Regions and Municipalities); the UK and Qatar gardens (International Outdoor Gardens) and the Shanghai and Beijing Outdoor Gardens (Chinese Outdoor Gardens). Other high-level prize winners in the competition included Japan, Germany and the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (International Outdoor Gardens), and Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces (Chinese Outdoor Gardens).

In total, the independent Grand Jury of the Expo Organising Committee presented 14 grand awards, 27 special awards, 43 gold awards, 56 silver awards, 3 best contribution awards, 3 best creativity awards and 5 most characteristic awards. In addition, the Expo Organising Committee gave special contribution awards to AIPH and the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE). For full details of the award winners visit www.aiph.org

Historic success

Expo 2019 Beijing ascended to new heights with the scale and quality of its horticultural gardens, exhibits and events.  Also marking a historic success, the horticultural Expo garnered unprecedented levels of international interest. Commenting on the Expo, AIPH President Mr Bernard Oosterom said: “The level of international participation and attention of this Expo was unparalleled and exceeded all expectations. It has succeeded in placing horticulture at the heart of making a greener planet and better lives for people around the world.”

At the Expo’s official closing ceremony on 9th October 2019, the AIPH flag was lowered and passed to Qatar’s Minister for Municipalities and Environment, Mr Abdulla Bin Abdulazis Al Subai. The next AIPH approved A1 World Horticultural Expo will be held in Doha, Qatar from 14th October 2021 – 17th March 2022.