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5 highlights of Korea’s garden expo

Suncheon Bay is one of the world’s top-five best preserved coastal wetlands and also the widest reed bed in Korea. Located in the southwestern province of Jeollanam-do, it is home to 120 species of salt plants and more than 230 species of migratory birds.

Boasting Korea’s largest reed fields and endless tidal plains, Suncheon Bay has become one of the country’s best-loved eco-friendly tourism destinations (photo courtesy of Suncheon City).

Boasting Korea’s largest reed fields and endless tidal plains, Suncheon Bay has become one of the country’s best-loved eco-friendly tourism destinations (photo courtesy of Suncheon City).


The scenic ecological tourist attraction will soon be transformed into a gigantic garden filled with green artwork by landscape designers from across the globe who will gather for the International Garden Exposition Suncheon Bay 2013.

With nearly a month left before the festival, the festival site is taking on greater shape each day. Among the abundance of attractions, there are five key symbols of the event.

[Gardens of the world]
Entering through the West Gate, voyagers cannot miss the Korean Garden to their right, which embraces three different themes of spaces: Palace, Scholar, and Family.

The Palace Garden, a reenactment of Korea’s traditional landscape, evokes a classical and elegant atmosphere that is reminiscent of images from the distant past of Korea’s old kings and queens walking together. The Scholar’s Garden exudes the lofty spirit of Korean scholars in the Joseon Dynasty (1392- 1910) who seemed to live with and be inspired by nature for their literary works, while Family Garden allows viewers a peek into Korea’s family life, especially the maternal love of Korean mothers.

French Garden is reminiscent of Versailles Palace (photo courtesy of International Garden Exposition Suncheon Bay 2013 Organizing Committee).

French Garden is reminiscent of Versailles Palace (photo courtesy of International Garden Exposition Suncheon Bay 2013 Organizing Committee).


Along with Korea’s, there are ten more nation-themed parks. Among the participating nations, including the U.S., China, Japan, Germany, Spain, and Italy, some nature-friendly countries have submitted garden designs that are likely to appeal to a large number of visitors.

Netherlands Garden features a picturesque landscape adorned with the iconic Dutch windmills and an abundance of tulips. Visitors to the fancily decorated French Garden would likely associate it with the world-renowned garden of Versailles.

[A symbolic lake of Suncheon]
In the middle of the exposition area is Suncheon Lake, created by acclaimed British horticulturalist Charles Jencks, which is one of the must-see highlights of the festival. Jencks reportedly stayed in Suncheon until he was inspired by the unique topography of Suncheon City, which is in harmony with the nearby mountains and bodies of water, to create the artificial lake.

The lake is a microcosm of the city, according to Jencks. Windy Hill that stands 16 meters high in the middle of the lake is a representation of Bonghwasan, the mountain situated in the center of Suncheon City.

[Lugworm’s Path, the world of imagination]
Lugworm’s Path was designed by Hwang Ji-hae, an environmental artist whose flower-themed presentations have achieved wins for two consecutive years at the UK Chelsea Flower show.

The use of the lugworm in her design theme was intended to promote the role of the lugworm in purifying pollutants. The garden arranged in the clean purified landscape creates magical fairytale scenes.
 
The official emblem “ECOGEO” is a compound of ecosystem and geo-(earth), meaning an eco-friendly festival which brings nature and humanity together (photo courtesy of Suncheon City).

The official emblem “ECOGEO” is a compound of ecosystem and geo-(earth), meaning an eco-friendly festival which brings nature and humanity together (photo courtesy of Suncheon City).



[Dream Bridge]
Dream Bridge connects two exhibits separated by the stream Dongcheon. The 175-meter-long bridge was built out of some 30 abandoned cargo containers. The interior was decorated with 140,000 tiles which were illustrated by an equal number of children brought together from all ethnicities, expressing their hopes and dreams in their drawings.

[Connect with nature at Wetlands Center]
Visitors to the indoor Wetlands Center can see very detailed displays about the ecological importance of the bay, while a panoramic view of the entire venue is possible from the roof of the building.

More detailed information is available at the website of the exposition.

By Lee Seung-ah
slee27@korea.kr

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