First Flower
Mother of Gardens
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Mother of Gardens

When the early 20th-century plant hunter Ernest H. Wilson published a book on his collecting expeditions in China, he titled it "Mother of Gardens." China earned this epithet for good reason: the country is home to some 31,000 native plant species, a third more than the U.S. and Canada combined, and many of these species are endemic to China. Yet a vast number of Chinese species could be adopted in North America and Europe because the regions share similar climates. Gardens throughout the world today are graced with flowering plants—rhododendrons, forsythias, magnolias, camellias, primroses, viburnums, and many others—that originated in China. In this slide show, glimpse just a tiny sampling of some of the most stunning transplants.—Susan K. Lewis

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© | Created March 2007