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The Suncheon Bay Garden Expo 2013 opens in Jeollanam-do

Suncheon Expo logoHwang Ji-hae, Korea’s best-known garden designer, won’t be at Chelsea this year. After two consecutive Chelsea gold medals, she’s taking a break from what is possibly the world’s most prestigious flower show, and instead has been concentrating on designing a garden closer to home: for Korea’s first International Garden Expo at Suncheon, Jeollanam-do.

The Mayor of Suncheon came to Chelsea two years ago as co-sponsor of Hwang’s debut artisan garden, and last year Suncheon City hosted a stall there to advertise the 2013 event which has the eyes of the gardening world focused on Jeollanam-do. Hwang, who lives nearby, just outside Gwangju, was a logical choice as one of the garden designers for the Expo.

A classic view of the Suncheon Bay mudflats
A classic view of the Suncheon Bay mudflats (Image credit: Suncheon City)

Hwang’s design is for a garden called The Lugworm’s Path (갯지렁이 다니는 길). According to the garden’s description on the Expo website, the lugworm is a tiny, often overlooked creature, but is an indispensable part of the mudflat ecosystem. The lugworm is the first line of defense against pollutants in the mudflats, for which Suncheon is famous.

An impression of Hwang Ji-hae's Lugworm's Path garden
An impression of Hwang Ji-hae’s Lugworm’s Path garden

The Lugworm’s Path garden feeds water into the Suncheon Lake garden, designed by Scotland-based Charles Jencks, known for his swirling architectural landscape designs. At his Suncheon garden, the landforms are designed to echo the hills surrounding Suncheon City:

Jencks Suncheon landform
Charles Jencks’s Suncheon garden under construction, showing how the landforms mirror the local landscape (Image credit:

Another link with the world of UK horticulture and landscaping is the English Garden, a design by Andy Sturgeon based on his garden sponsored by the Daily Telegraph which won the Best in Show award at the 2010 Chelsea Flower Show.

Sturgeon 2010 design
Andy Sturgeon’s 2010 Chelsea Best In Show Garden (Image credit

There are gardens from all over the world at the Expo, including Thailand, Turkey and Spain. And of course the Korean traditional garden is also featured.

The Korean garden at Suncheon
The Korean garden at Suncheon (photo Korea Times / Yun Suh-young)

According to,

Suncheon Bay Garden Expo 2013 was originally designed to preserve Suncheon Bay as much as possible. Judging that Suncheon Bay, just five kilometers away from the urban center, would likely to be damaged in the near future, Suncheon City was convinced that creating a new green space called an Eco-Belt between the city and the bay is essential for acting as a buffer against urban sprawl. The newly constructed green area was renamed the venue of Suncheon Bay Garden Expo 2013.

The image below, edited from Google Maps (interactive link here) shows the location of the Expo ground, between Suncheon City and the bay. The satellite photo was clearly taken during the construction process.

The location of the Suncheon Garden Expo
The location of the Suncheon Garden Expo, between the city and the mudflats

The Suncheon Bay Garden Expo 2013 lasts until 20 October. LKL hopes to get there in September, when the nearby herbal medicine festival in Sancheong opens. Judging by the pictures of the opening weekend, the Expo looks very busy and very colourful. It even featured a display by Korea’s top aerobatic team. But hopefully it will have quietened down a bit by the time I get there in September.

Posing at the opening weekend of the Suncheon Bay Garden Expo 2013
Posing at the opening weekend of the Suncheon Bay Garden Expo 2013 (Image Credit: Expo Facebook page)


The trailer video:

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