Plants and Birds and Rocks and Things

I had previously visited two of the major attractions on the western outskirts of Beijing: Xiangshan and Badachu. Recently (18 July) I added another, 北京植物园 (Zhiwuyuan, the Beijing Botanical Garden) which contains 卧佛寺 (Wofosi, the Temple of the Sleeping Buddha). Once again, I used a city bus to get there.
The bus passes by some interesting looking temples that I would love to visit someday.
The place is full of lovely landscaping, including ponds and bridges.
There is also a section of the huge park devoted to 曹雪芹 (Cao Yueqin), who wrote the classic 红楼梦 (Hong Lou Meng, Dream of the Red Chamber), which I have written about before.
The location in the hills is quite lovely, and a wide variety of different kinds of trees grace the grounds.
As I mentioned, there is an old temple inside the Garden grounds.
Inside the Glazed Arch is a little pond with koi and turtles.
The Sleeping Buddha itself is in a building where you are not allowed to take pictures.
You can see a bit of the bronze Buddha inside. It’s 5.3 meters (17' 4") long and weighs about 54 tons. The words over the door (明恒月性) I believe are supposed to be read right to left in the ancient manner, and have something to do with the quality of the moon being constant brightness. Either that or some kind of wish for the Ming Dynasty to last forever, since the name of the dynasty, 明 Ming, means bright.

Up the hill behind the temple is a little stream running down a shaded valley.
As you can see, this is a popular area for families to enjoy a little bit of nature.
Further up the valley is a grove dedicated to the metasequoia, also known as dawn redwood. This tree is common in the fossil record from millions of years ago, and was believed extinct until a small stand was discovered in Sichuan in 1944. Since then they have been planted all around the world, but it is still considered a critically endangered species. These trees were planted in 1975.

And for the bird lovers out there...
...I present a blurry telephoto shot of a fairly large bird I saw eating a fruit in a tree near the trail.

Back down in the valley, I found some nifty water plants.
One of the main attractions at the Garden is the Conservatory.
This is where they keep tropical and desert plants. As it turns out, the day I went there was so hot that it was actually cooler in some parts of the greenhouse than it was outside.
And they couldn’t resist adding some water features.
On the upper level is the desert area, with lots of cacti and succulents from various parts of the world. And a little Egyptian statue because just plants are not enough.

On the subject of not being able to resist:
No jungle is complete without dinosaurs.
Or terracotta warriors.

Like I said, the Garden is really huge, and there are parts of it that are currently not used much.
I rather like this picture of a disused path off to an unpopular area.

I’ll finish off with a collection of invertebrates I saw in the Garden.
Dragonfly (蜻蜓 qingting), mantis (螳蜋 tanglang), some kind of beetle (甲虫 jiachong), and millipede (千足虫 qianzuchong).

So that is the Botanical Garden. I must say it is much, much better than the Zoological Garden, and well worth the trip out of the city. It was very hot the day I went, but there are vendors with beverages and ice cream all over the place.