Set in the northwestern corner of Hangzhou’s West Lake area, Hangzhou Botanical Garden sprawls across 248 intricately landscaped acres and is the perfect place for passing a few relaxing hours. Opened in 1965 the Hangzhou Botanical Garden also houses a research center devoted to the cultivation and protection of a swath of native plant species. Chief among the highlights of the Botanical Garden are the 150 species of bamboo which tower above walkways in such dense clusters that their height and depth can actually obscure the sun. One species of bamboo which grows in the garden can reputedly grow three feet (about a meter) overnight and can reach a height of three-stories in little under a month.
Any visitors with an interest in traditional Chinese medicine can peruse the section devoted to medicinal herbs, although most garden visitors can be found relaxing down by the lakeshore or photographing the pagodas as they are reflected on the placid waters. Of all the serene moments to be experienced in the park, however, the most famous takes place in the winter months, a situation you perhaps wouldn’t expect from a botanical garden. When the cold winter air ushers in a fresh round of snow, the 5,000 plum trees which occupy the Lingfeng Tanmei section of the garden become draped in a fresh blanket of snowflakes to create one of the most calming scenes found anywhere in the garden.