一朵鮮花的奇幻之旅 The Wonderful Journey of a Flower
Austin, a rose, is quietly blooming in a vase on a table facing the street. A journey of over 2,000 kilometers from Kunming, the world’s Spring City and Capital of Flowers, to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, has just ended.
She travelled 24 hours from the fields in Kunming to the streets of a foreign country, leaving fragrant footprints along the route starting from the “Flower Capital of Asia.”
Coming to Kunming from Across the Sea
My name is Austin. I dare to say without exaggeration that I am an elegant and beautiful rose and that no girl can resist my charm. You must think that I am a ‘foreign flower’ by my name. Indeed, my ancestors came from the UK and my fathers were brought across the sea to China by a Dutch seed breeding company. I was born in Kunming, China, the “Flower Capital of Asia.”Therefore, I am truly “made in China.”
Six months ago, when I was still a seedling with only a few tiny leaves, I looked plain. However, people took good care of me. Among those who often came to visit me, there was a technical consultant named Li Min. I learned, from his conversations with others, that roses and carnations, gerbera, eustoma, and lily flowers were in the majority here and that born in Kunming was by no means an accident, but the result of market choice.
In 2015, our fathers took root here and adapted quickly thanks to the warm sunshine and sufficient water. With our superior appearance, our family won the favor of the local people, thus we reproduced and flourished on this land. In recent years, with the rapid development of transportation and information in human society, the earth has become a “global village.” Like our family, forty or fifty new varieties of flowers from all over the world have settled down here. Before this rose queen who had “ruled” for a long time here was the red Shamansha, and later the Dallas and the Cardinal.
Li Min said that varieties were selected to be introduced here according to an analysis of information and market data, and the chosen were the “cream of the crop.” I am honored that my family was selected. Under his guidance during growth, his know-how for preventing pests and diseases, and when we were to hit the market, we were well cared-for every aspect of our growth.
Dressing up and Waiting for the “Wedding”
Finally, after 6 months, I was in bud, tall and straight. One morning, I was cut off at the branch. At that time, I was like a bride, who would meet my bridegroom at Dounan, the largest flower distribution market in Asia, and then start my journey to the distant world.
Before the “wedding,”my foster parents, or the farmers who had taken care of me for a long time, dressed us up. Our sisters, who were of the same height, appearance and age, were gathered together. My foster parents said this was a request from the market of Dounan. They called this process sorting, which facilitated further grading.
We were dressed up delicately. The whole grading and packaging process included “picking and warehousing, ex-warehousing of original flowers, removing thorns, the grading of branches and leaves,the grading of buds, packaging, cutting roots, finished product preservation the batching and filling of supply orders, framing and ex-warehousing”.
In the end, my sisters and I were divided into five levels — A, B, C, D, E based on quality. Many factors had to be considered in the grading. For example, branches are graded according to their length, thickness, state of disease and insect damage. The length of branches is generally 5-10 cm. And the length and thickness of the same bunch of flowers should be basically the same. In addition, leaves and shoots with severe damage, diseased leaves, or dead leaves should be removed. Finally, the size, color, shape, blossom, state of disease, insect damage, and deformity of the buds in the same bunch must be similar.
It is not easy to become a Class A flower. The weight, the length and thickness of the branches, the old branches, the petals with diseases and insect damage, and shapes form the entire criteria.
In fact, our ancestors were not dressed up and graded so delicately like us when they were “married.” But now the standards of flower grading are getting more and more refined. Once, I heard people from the Dounan Flower Market tell my foster parents that this was to improve our marriage rate, so that we could quickly find our Mr. Right and go to the place most suitable for us.
Public Auction，Finding Our “Mr. Right”
When we were all dressed up neatly and lined up according to our appearance, we started our rose bouquet delivery tour to the world to look for our Mr. Right. According to the staff of the Dounan International Flower Industry Park in Chenggong, 9.231 billion little sisters had set off from Dounan to China and over 50 countries around the world in 2019.
Now the way our Mr. Right takes us away is getting more and more advanced. In addition to the previous face-to-face blind date, the most popular method is through the bidding auction.
The Dounan Flower Electronic Trading Center adopts a “Dutch-style” flower auction mode. Those who offer the highest prices obtain their favorite brides. For those who offer the same price, the one who bids first gets the bride, and the transaction price is the minimum bid price.
According to the staff, the transaction price varies in the traditional face-to-face blind date, because only buyers and sellers participate in the transaction, and different buyers and sellers value their flowers differently. On the contrary, the basic principles of auctions are fairness, justness and openness. Everyone who comes to see the flowers has an equal chance in the auction. There is no discriminatory behavior due to personal factors.
The fairness of the flower auction gives every fan a chance to select “their beloved one” and avoids chaotic buying tides. In addition, the flower auction shows the value the flowers deserve so that quality flowers are better priced and a product grading standard that caters more to the market can be formed to ensure sound market order.
In addition, quality flowers selling at good prices allows the suppliers, namely our foster parents to focus more on production, constant innovation and improving quality. Fair trade allows everyone to enter the flower auction market and make every endeavor to find new products and open up new markets. The buyers and the sellers focus on their respective fields, and the production and sales of flowers are increasingly polarized, which facilitates the sound development of the flower industry.
Flying to a New Home Cross Border
The destination of my trip was a city called Phnom Penh, the capital of the neighboring Cambodia, over 2,000 kilometers from Kunming. I was happy, because there would be more people who know and love flowers waiting for me to decorate their lives in such a densely populated city.
聽聞之前，那樣的一趟旅途，我們要乘坐車輛，翻越一座又一座山，2500千米的路，必須 好幾天。在我們去到花美人手上，總是會帶上一點愁容，因此 可以出國留學的小夥伴並不是很多。而如今路越修越高，路途大大縮短，晃動和耗損縮小了。大量的情況下，大家搭的是飛機場，日行千萬裡都沒什麼問題，2000千米只需好多個鐘頭。
I heard that 2,500 kilometers took several days by car and that one needed to climb over one mountain after another in the past. When we arrived at the hands of the flower-lovers, we were always a little tired. So, few flowers could go abroad. Now the roads are getting better, shortening the distance and reducing bumps and damage. More often, we take planes. 10 thousand miles a day is not a problem. In only a few hours we can cover 2000 kilometers.
I was transported from the market to Kunming Changshui International Airport, where I went through a series of procedures such as customs quarantining, weighing and tax declaring, and I was loaded into the aircraft with 3 tons of flowers from hundreds of different families. After more than three hours, I breathed moister and warmer air. Night fell, and I was a little excited. My destination was near.
We were all loaded into large trucks. In a market, we were put into different small trucks and bid farewell. Woke up again, our paper “armor” had been removed, and a pair of slightly rough but warm and agile hands with the fragrance of plant juice were caressing my body. They felt like the hands that had been taking care of me over the past six months.
When the first ray of sunshine shone through the morning fog, I stretched out, drank a large mouthful of fresh and cool water, and slowly blossomed. There are people with blond hair and green eyes, or black hair and black eyes, with white, yellow or black skin. I like their smiling mouths, as pretty as mine.