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China Daily Global / 2021-05 / 21 / Page015

Blossoming of a dream

By Wang Ru | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-05-21 00:00

Woman changes career to embrace her passion and educate people on the beauty and importance of flowers, Wang Ru reports.

Qiu Yamin, 42, was inspecting her flowers in Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan province, one afternoon, while having it livestreamed. When she saw the fading sunlight and realized sunset was approaching, she climbed to the roof, and enjoyed the panorama with about 700 people watching online.

For the woman who made her hobby of planting flowers her job, it's a great pleasure to enjoy the blossoming flowers with others who share her passion.

Back in 2008, Qiu was living a different life, one far removed from pots and plants. The computer saleswoman was bored with her job."At that time, I had a job I disliked, and the busy work day after day meant I did not have enough time to appreciate even the change of seasons. I felt my life would remain the same."

As a result, Qiu decided to quit her job and follow her heart by opening a flower store. But the retail side was not profitable, since fresh-cut flowers wither easily. If they were not sold in several days, they were discarded.

By chance, Qiu and her husband went to Sansheng township in Chengdu, where there was a large flower retail market. On the way, she saw some tall apartments with balconies which seemed to be either empty or full of clothes people were airing. Then the idea hit her.

"I rented a vacant lot of 2,000 square meters in Sansheng and grew numerous plants inside, changing it into a garden, which is also a flower market. People can visit the garden and buy plants," says Qiu.

At that time, she was expecting her first child, Heidi, and named the garden Heydear Garden. She carefully designed the garden with her family and opened it to the public when various flowers began to bloom there. She was called Heidi's mother by visitors from then on.

Several years later, when Qiu's second daughter Lulu was born, she opened a new garden in Shuangliu district, Chengdu, and named it the Garden of Heidi and Lulu. Nearly 2,000 kinds of plants are growing in the garden with an area of 3,000 square meters. It soon gained popularity online, attracting many tourists to come to the garden to take photos.

"I feel very happy seeing many people visit the garden, I want to make people realize the attractiveness of plants and gardening," says Qiu.

The garden has 10 parts with different themes, including a dinosaur garden which Qiu designed for Lulu. "Lulu likes dinosaurs very much, and asked for a dinosaur garden. We visited dinosaur museums and made a dinosaur skeleton with wood."

They also designed parterres in the area in the form of dinosaur bones.

According to Qiu, they allow 600 people to visit the garden every day, and people can apply to visit it online.

Besides offline sales, Qiu has built up Heydear Garden online, and engaged with sales through livestreaming. Nearly 1 million people follow her on China's social media platform Sina Weibo, on which she teaches people how to plant flowers.

According to Lizitou, a user on China's popular Q&A platform Zhihu, "Qiu's social media accounts operate very well. Her pictures, articles and videos are all of good quality and useful for those who want to learn to grow plants."

At the beginning, she started the business by herself, then her family members joined. Now, her company has more than 200 people. She has published her book Heydear Garden introducing her experience planting flowers.

"With the core idea of family gardening, we want to bring plants to more families so that children can see how a seed sprouts, and how a flower blooms with the company of their parents," says Qiu.

In order to promote educating children on the importance of flowers, Qiu has initiated a program which aims to build 100 gardens in 100 schools in China. She hopes to plant various flowers in each garden, so that students can see them in different seasons. Her income from the new book will be used in the program, she says.

"I believe planting the seed of gardening in a child's heart will benefit him or her for a lifetime. I have built such gardens in two schools in Chengdu, and will build more in the future, especially for schools for students with special needs. With the gardens, we may try some horticultural therapy for such students," says Qiu.


Qiu Yamin's daughters Heidi (front) and Lulu play in the Garden of Heidi and Lulu in Chengdu, Sichuan province, in January last year. CHINA DAILY



Qiu harvests flowers in her garden in November 2018. CHINA DAILY



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