Hwang 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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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 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.
- The Expo’s official website, eng.2013expo.or.kr
- The Expo’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/2013expo, where you can find the latest photos.
- Gathering of World’s Most Beautiful Gardens, Korea Times, 11 April 2013
- Sowed in Britain, gardener’s career grows global: the JoongAng Daily interviews Andy Sturgeon, 19 April 2013
- Expo has bevy of ticket, transport options, JoongAng Daily, 19 April 2013
The trailer video: