Purity of purpose

By Zhu Chengpei and Zhang Xiaomin ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-07-20 16:05:02

Purity of purpose

Xu Gang says he has achieved inner peace by growing lotuses germinated from 1,000-year-old seeds, and he hopes more people can appreciate them. Zhu Chengpei / China Daily

Divorce, rats and construction workers - nothing gets in the way of one man's obsession with the past. Zhu Chengpei and Zhang Xiaomin in Dalian, Liaoning province, discover why.

Purity of purpose

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Purity of purpose

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The breeze carries the fragrance of the pink flowers resting their heads above the beds of green leaves that float on the surface of the pond.

"These are descendants of the ancient lotus seeds that traveled in space aboard Shenzhou VII in 2008," says Xu Gang, pointing at the flowers by his side. He has black mud under his fingernails, as he has just finished transplanting some lotus seedlings.

The 59-year-old has been caring for the pond, covering an area of about 2 hectares, in Pulandian, Dalian, for about 19 years, growing lotuses germinated from 1,000-year-old seeds.

In 1989, Xu read an article about ancient lotus seeds in a magazine and learned that a large number of such seeds were dug out from the earth in the early 20th century and in the 1950s. Surprisingly, they could still germinate, though the seed coats were carbonized.

The civil servant at the local administration for industry and commerce started to use all his leisure time researching the ancient lotuses.

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