Native Korean camellia and exotic trees and plants at Tongyeong Camellia Botanical Garden offer a nice chill-out to city dwellers

김태인 기자l승인2021.08.26

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▲ Tongyeong Camellia Botanical Garden / Director Lee Sang-heon

(PowerKorea) Tongyeong Camellia Botanical Garden in Dosan-myeon, Tongyeong, opened door on July 10, 2021. You can find many camellia trees, coffee trees and 50 kinds of subtropical plants in the 12,000 square meter big garden. 

The garden director Lee Sang-heon used to run a 9,900 square meter paprika farm, made yearly 5 billion won ($434,593) sales and earned a $300,000 Export Tower from the city: it was 42% of the whole $800,000 export volume of the city at that time.

“During the time, I was drawn to camellia especially the rare patterned native Korean camellia. So I made a space in the farm to grow camellia trees time to time and the number has increased to the amount that I could open a botanical garden” said Lee.

Patterned camellia is known as native Korean camellia. The flower blooms from winter and spring and the showy patterns of the leaves make the tree so charming that some manias trade at an expensive price. Camellia is evergreen and it makes the air clean. It was 10 years ago that the native Korean patterned camellia was found and traded in the market. The texture is smoother than that of Japan and China which makes it more valuable according to Lee.

“In fact, camellia is difficult to grow. It is vulnerable to coldness so not many people actually grow it. Coffee trees, on the other hand, always have either flowers or fruits throughout the year. The flower blooms in May and I can harvest fruits next spring. Alongside, I grow around 50 kinds of trees including banana, pineapple, apple mango, guava and jabuticaba.”

Lee values highly of naturalness of the garden by minimizing artificial way of management. He waters trees and plants every day and spread Sahara sand which costs around $600 per kg for people to take an exotic rest. 

“It hope more people to come and rest at my botanical garden where exotic trees and plants are many as well as native Korean camellia. I will introduce a variety of activities so that visitors should not get bored by resting only” says Lee.

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