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Flowers to decorate streets, hotels in Beijing
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More than 2.56 million flowers will decorate the streets and areas around Olympic venues in Dongcheng District, Beijing's central business area, according to its Bureau of Parks and Woods.

They will be placed along the Second Ring Road, Beijing Railway Station and the routes for bicycle races and torch relays, covering a total area of 22,047 square meters, said Zhao Xijing, the bureau's deputy-director.

He said five three-dimensional flower beds with Olympic themes are being built around the key areas for the sporting events and foreign visitors. They are Yonghegong Lama Temple, Beixinqiao Bridge and the Worker's Stadium.

The largest among the five is a "flower lantern" in the greenbelt along the northeast Second Ring Road, which is 10 meters high and covers an area of 1,000 square meters.

"We will use more than 30 kinds of flowers and some of them can last for four months," said Zhao. He added more were being grown at two flower bases in suburban Tongzhou and Changping to replace those that wither.

More than 10,000 branches of moth orchid have already been transported to hotels which host the foreign athletes and journalists to decorate rooms. The city's flower production bases will provide 30,000 more orchid during the Games for various uses in both hotels and Olympic venues.

A flower shop will be opened in the Olympic Village on July 20 to provide flower services for congratulations to medal winners, the celebration of athletes' birthdays and other occasions.

"Since the 36 kinds of flowers available in the shop are specially cultivated for the Olympics, their price will not be very cheap," said Zhang Jun of Beijing Flower Association.

A bunch of flowers will cost from 100 yuan (14.68 U.S. dollars) to 600 yuan, with an average price of 400 yuan, he said.

Zhang said the flowers, which could be ordered in Chinese or English, could be sent anywhere in the village within 15 minutes.

(Xinhua News Agency July 17, 2008)

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