If you're looking to get away from it all and smell the flowers, the Frelinghuysen Arboretum in Morristown is offering a unique destination: China.
The nature center is presenting the second part of Plants of China: A Friendship and Peace Exhibit and Cell Phone Tour, a self-guided exploration of flora and fauna native to the world's most populous country, through April and May.
The first part was on display last fall.
The program at the Arboretum provides visitors with extensive cultural and horticultural background of many of the Chinese transplants growing in local gardens.
China is the only country on the planet where there are unbroken connections between tropical, subtropical, temperate and boreal forests, helping account for China's incredibly diverse flora. If you're looking to add some variety to your diet, for example, there are more than 15,000 vegetables native to China.
With an area almost exactly the same size as that of the continental United States, China has almost twice as many kinds of plants. According to the Arboretum, one-eighth of the world’s plant species are native to China, including thousands that
are found growing nowhere else on Earth. Many plants know only through fossil records in North America and Europe are still living in China.
Many of the plants growing at the Arboretum are native to China and are recommended for North Central New Jersey gardens.
Begin your tour just outside the Haggerty Education Center. Dial 973-975-0973 and press 900 to hear the introduction. Then follow the directions given on the recording. Each of the plants is labeled on a sign adjacent to it with the three-digit code to press for more in-depth information.