The inscription is taken from the writings of emperor Qianlong praising the spiritual beauty of this particular type of flower, known as xi fan lian, the Indian lotus.
The text may be translated and summarised as: 'This category of flower belongs to the lotus; since it does not live within the water the character lian is used instead of he. This flower is not native to China so it is called xi fan lian (foreign lotus from the West)... It grows on bamboo poles for support. During the day, the flower petals would open, and they close in the evening. Each stem has one flower supported by the calyx ... the flower has five stamen ... the fruit is auspicious ruyi-shaped in a fresh crimson colour. The five raised stamens remind me of the founding of Zen Buddhism, representing the highest cycles of Enlightenment'.