The Garden of Morning Calm – Korea’s botanical chef-d’oeuvre
Gyeonggi Province, located about 40 kilometres to the northeast of Seoul, boasts one of the most beautiful gardens in the world. The Garden of Morning Calm (아침고요수목원) is an impressive 330.000 m² botanical garden housing 5.000 different kinds of plants in 27 uniquely themed sections. Read on to learn more about this garden of sheer serenity.
A brief history of the garden
The Garden of Morning Calm was founded in 1996. It was the idea of Han Sang-Kyung – a professor of horticulture – to create a garden that would exhibit the natural beauty and grace of the Korean landscapes. Oriental mystique, elegant curves and asymmetric balance are all typical characteristics of Korean nature and through its design and displays, the garden successfully manages to accentuate these features.
Features of the garden
Visitors can stroll through the Bonsai Garden, Pagoda Valley, Eden Garden, Road to Heaven, Moonlight Garden, and Herb Garden, to mention a few of the 27 separate sections of the garden. Each section is connected by scenic walkways surrounded by beautiful trees, plants and flowers. Mount Chungryeong serves as the backdrop to the garden, yet another example of the beautiful curves of Korean nature.
Among the 5,000 different species of the garden, many are rare or endangered. A prime example of this is a 1000-year old juniper tree, which is one of the most recognized features of the garden. Another one of the most iconic features of the garden is the Sunken Garden, designed in the shape of the Korean Peninsula. This garden is carpeted with beautiful flowers representing the desire for reunification of South and North Korea.
The garden is astonishingly beautiful at all times of the year. Whether you like the early blooming that comes with spring, the full-blown blossom during summer, the tranquillity of autumn foliage, or a winter wonderland, the garden is idyllic in all seasons. The pictures accompanying this article are from mid-October – undeniably the best time to visit if you wish to experience the autumn foliage at its peak.
In addition to housing the beautiful scenery, the Garden of Morning Calm also arranges a number of seasonal festivals and exhibitions throughout the year. Visitors will also find a variety of dining and shopping options while visiting the garden. Cafes, restaurants, bakeries and shops selling organic products are all available. K-drama and –movie enthusiasts will also appreciate that the garden has served as a filming site for many celebrated Korean productions; “The Letter” (1997), “Addicted” (2002) and “Love in the Moonlight” (2016), to name a few.
The garden in the Land of Morning Calm
The name “Garden of Morning Calm” was inspired by a poem in which Korea is referred to as the “Land of Morning Calm”. There is no doubt that the garden lives up to its name. As a walk through the beautiful premises will reveal, the garden’s unique atmosphere provides an exceptional sensation of peace and tranquillity that is much needed in our hectic lives. Words alone cannot do justice to the beauty and serenity of this magical place. Rather, it has to be experienced and I hope everyone gets a chance to do so.
· “Korea Travel Guidebook” published by Korea Tourism Organization (2018)