Red poppies herald ‘green cities’ partnership as Liverpool charity Landlife sign ecological agreement with China

A project which is promoting cultural and conservation links between Liverpool and China was celebrated last week with a special signing ceremony in Chinese as part of the International Festival of Business (IFB) at the Hub in Mann Island.



Merseyside charity Landlife, which founded the National Wildflower Centre, has set up a historic new conservation agreement in Kunming, South West China. The agreement was first signed in English at the Opening Ceremony of British Week in Kunming in April, and coincided with Landlife¹s trip to China to research and refine selection of Chinese Wildflower species for multiplication.

Liverpool-China partnership

The Liverpool-China partnership will create a new reciprocal wildflower seed industry and generate creative conservation projects in China. This will allow a celebration of Chinese biodiversity and enable Chinese wildflowers to be used in ecological restoration to address problems of landscape degradation, and promote Chinese wildflowers as an important cultural asset for city landscaping projects.

The seeds of the project were sown when Professor Wang from Shanghai visited Liverpool in Capital of Culture year and told Landlife’s future Chinese partners about the National Wildflower Centre and its work. Links with Kunming Botanic Institute developed after a visit from Jie Cai, then Kew Gardens’ China Programmes Officer, who came to speak to Liverpool’s Chinese community at the Pagoda Centre in 2007, sparking the connection to Kunming.

Liverpool’s Chinese community

The Chinese Community in Liverpool is the oldest in Europe, and earlier this year Landlife helped representatives and local schoolchildren plant poppy seeds on the Tribeca land below the Anglican Cathedral with permission from Liverpool City Council and support from John Swire and Sons Ltd, a global company with Liverpool roots which has extensive Chinese business interest.

The poppies germinated in time for the second signing ceremony, with the bright red colour symbolising good fortune and joy in Chinese culture.

Signing event

The signing event was hosted by Mayor Joe Anderson and attended by representatives from Landlife, Sichuan Rungfeng Landscape Engineering Ltd, the Kunming Institute of Botany and UKTI North West.

Celebrations were completed with a visit to the poppy fields on Upper Duke Street, a performance of the Chinese Children’s Youth Orchestra and refreshments at the Pagoda Centre on Henry Street.

Richard Scott, Senior Project Manager of Landlife, said:

“We are delighted to be confirming the agreement today in Liverpool with our partners at UKTI as part of the International Festival for Business.

“Landife has pioneered Creative Conservation for 40 years, using innovative techniques to establish new wildflower landscapes for the benefit of wildlife and people. This agreement is an important step for us, and it is fitting that Liverpool, with the oldest Chinese community in Europe and a pioneer of ecological restoration, should be focus for this event.

“This is a very exciting beginning for the beginning of a Chinese wildflower seed industry, and shows China¹s commitment to combat environmental degradation by using wildflowers on urban restoration projects in the same way groups like ourselves have pioneered this practice in the UK.

“National and international seed banks are important. However, it is also important that seeds are put to effective and reviving use, as part of a living landscape. We hope projects like this will eventually create the cities of the future, which reflect biodiversity and a real concern for the planet and wild flowers.”

Philomena Chen, Head of Asia Pacific Development for UKTI North West, added:

“We are delighted to support the pioneering work of Landlife both here in the region and in China. This is a natural follow-on from the creative aspirations of the British Pavilion and Thomas Heatherwick¹s Seed Cathedral in Shanghai Expo 2010, for which Landlife¹s partners in Kunming provided the seeds. Congratulations to Landlife and the National Wildflower in connecting cultural and business links between Liverpool and China with their innovative and creative projects.”

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