Do you know what flower represents Sejong?
That is right. It is peach blossom.
When you think about peach, it will remind you of Jochiwon.
Peach blossom inspires hope and symbolizes mutual growth of regions, and the leap of the city.
Sejong Special Autonomous City is the central city of Korea,
and it aims to be the administrative capital.
So, Sejong takes rose of Sharon, the national flower of Korea,
as a symbol of the city, and widely plants them to grow.
It is estimated that there are 50,000 roses of Sharon trees in 58 places in Sejong,
but it seems that there are a lot more of them in reality.
I have been to many places in Sejong for 2 years to take photos of roses of Sharon
and organize my thoughts.
There are many places in Sejong that have raised roses of Sharon for a long time,
but there are also quite a few places that have planted them since 2016.
I have been looking for places that have cultivated them for a long time or places
that have a significant meaning, as newly planted roses of Sharon are not yet in full bloom.
1. The biggest battlefield of the Korean War: Gaemigogae
Take the Route 1 from Jochiwon-eup, and go straight about 10km in Cheonan's direction,
then turn right at the Cheongram intersection.
Cross the railroad, and you will see the small hill where roses of Sharon are in full bloom.
This is Gaemigogae, Cheongram-ri, Jeondong-myeon, Sejong-si, and it is one of the biggest battlefield of the Korean War.
It is called Gaemigogae, because the hill looks like a slender waist of an ant. ('Gaemi' means an ant in Korean)
The Tower of Freedom and Peace has 428 names on it of American soldiers who died in the battle.
Around the memorial tower, the Taegeukgi and the Stars and Stripes were flying
in the wind in harmony with the roses of sharon.
I could not help bowing my head in respect for the souls of those who died protecting the liberal democracy.
The path of rose of Sharon reaches about 3.2 km here at the Gaemigogae.
Gyeongbu line passes right next to the path. I believed that those who travel by the rail would appreciate
the roses of Sharon and would grow their love of the country.
I thought it would be great if this battlefield of Gaemigogae
could be used as a place for security education recalling the spirit of patriotism.
2. Resting Place for the spirits: Eunhasu Park
Roses of Sharon are in full bloom all over the Eunhasu Park
where we honor those who passed away before us.
Surrounding the tower of Eunhasu Park, the roses of Sharon repeat blooming
and falling as if they are connecting this life with afterlife.
It is said that flower of rose of Sharon repeats blooming
and falling about 3,000 times at one tree for about 100 days in summer.
I think that is why rose of Sharon is called "Mugunghwa" in Korean
which means a flower that blossoms and falls infinitely.
Rose of Sharon means a sincere heart and eternity in the language of flowers.
That makes me think that rose of Sharon is to wish the eternal life for those buried in the park.
In harmony with blue sky, white clouds, and pink roses of Sharon,
I think this is a beautiful park rather than a cemetery.
As the park is away from the city, you can see twinkling stars at night.
I think that is why this park is called "Eunhasu Park". (Eunhasu means "the Milky Way" in Korean)
A lot of roses of Sharon blossoms and falls at the park
throughout the summer, reminding us preciousness and mysteries of life.
3. Rose of Sharon garden at every village in the whole neighborhood of Geumnam-myeon
There are roses of Sharon here and there at the villages in Sejong.
All sorts and kinds of beautiful roses of Sharon are in full bloom here in the Geumnam-myeon area.
I live in the south of Geumgang river, so I visit Geumnam-myeon the most.
The first place that I saw bountiful roses of Sharon blooming like this is Gamseong-ri.
This village is also called "Village of Crane", because a flock of egrets and herons come and inhabit here in spring.
Pink roses of Sharon that belong to Hongdansimgye and white roses of Sharon
that belong to Baedalgye match together and make a beautiful garden.
The roses of Sharon would be much loved as they are planted on the road to the village.
Since the surrounding area is all green rice paddy, the roses of Sharon look more beautiful in the center of it.
This is Yeongdae-ri, Geumnam-myeon. A swallowtail butterfly is on a rose of Sharon.
This rose of Sharon is a double flower of deep purple color.
A white, double flower is common, but I saw a purple, double flower for the first time.
There are more than 300 kinds of rose of Sharon,
so it would not be easy to distinguish them.
They are divided into single flower, double flower, and half-double flower according to the shape,
or they are sorted into baedalgye, dansimgye, and asadalgye according to the colors.
Baedalgye is all white. It is said that Asadalgye has white petals,
and has red patterns on them, but I have not seen it yet.
Dansimgye is red in the center, and it is divided into
cheongdansimgye(blue), Hongdansimgye(red), and Baekdansimgye(white) according to the color of petal.
What we can easily see is mostly dansimgye.
Let me introduce an on-line cafe which gives very detailed information about rose of Sharon.
Go to the official web site of the "Mugunghwa Yeondae".
It seems that roses of Sharon here are really nice and beautiful.
Red flowers like this belong to Hongdansimgye, and these are the flowers that you can see the most.
4. Colorful Geumgang Arboretum
Geumgang Arboretum is the place where roses of Sharon are the most in Sejong.
It is located on 110, Sallimbangmulgwan-gil, Geumnam-myeon, Sejong-si.
There are a lot to see such as a forest museum and it is a good place to take a walk and have a rest.
In summer, more than 8000 of roses of sharon in various colors and shapes blossom at the same time,
and that makes a spectacular scene.
The roses of Sharon are planted by kinds, or some of them are planted in a bunch.
Rose of Sharon is beautiful by itself, but it is more beautiful when it is planted together.
It seems that people are reluctant to grow rose of Sharon due to the aphid.
However, rose of Sharon has fewer diseases than other plants,
so you can see beautiful flowers for a long time if you only get rid of harmful insects like aphid.
There are so many different kinds of rose of Sharon in the Geumgang Arboretum.
I picked out 9 kinds of them which have their own names.
Among those, "Donghae" and "Parangsae" belong to Cheongdansimgye,
and the others belong to Hongdansimgye.
They are all unique and beautiful regardless of the kinds.
I did not realize that rose of Sharon is such a beautiful flower before,
but now I came to know its true value, as I take photos of it.
5. Roses of Sharon all over the country
I stopped walking or got out of my car and took my camera out
whenever I found rose of Sharon in Sejong last summer.
I have been able to find rose of Sharon in so many places.
It is amazing that you start to notice things that you did not before when you became interested in them.
The Cosmos Flower Festival is in full swing at the river site of Mihoocheon Stream.
It seemed that everyone was so fascinated with the garden cosmos
that no one turned their eyes on the rose of Sharon that is behind the season.
However, the harmony of garden cosmos with rose of Sharon that is still in bloom is worth notice.
There are a lot of roses of Sharon around the Presidential Archives.
I think this area will be covered with roses of Sharon in a few years.
Rose of Sharon, the symbol of Korea, looks more noble, since it is around the Presidential Archives.
There is a rose of Sharon garden around the government offices of Sejong.
Roses of Sharon here are mostly belong to baedalgye which is a white, double flower.
A lot of roses of Sharon are planted in the waterside park of Geumgang river.
Various roses of Sharon are blooming along the path,
but you have to wait a little longer to see them because they are still too young.
The roses of Sharon constantly come into bloom as time goes by around the windmill
that rotates in the wind incessantly.
They mostly belong to baekdansimgye and the white petals are
in beautiful harmony with the red center.
They are planted in group around the Yeonseo-myeon Office.
I hope that this place becomes a garden of roses of Sharon for everyone to love,
and furthemore grow their love of the country.
6. The world's largest rose of Sharon theme park ready for completion
The rose of Sharon theme park is under construction in Sejong, and it will be the world's largest.
The theme park will be located in the area
which connects Jeonwol-san mountain with Wonsu-san mountain.
It will be about 32 acre and 6.52 million dollars will be invested to create the theme park.
The theme park will be composed of 5 sections:
A garden that shows various species of rose of Sharon,
a garden that shows the colors of rose of Sharon,
a garden that shows national flowers of the world, a garden that you can take a rest, and a maze garden.
The construction is in its final stage, and it will be completed in November, 2018.
I went into the theme park as it is open to the public even though it is still under construction.
Many kinds of roses of Sharon are in bloom there.
Finishing work was undergoing before its opening.
The theme park would be a nice place for mountain climbers to take a rest since
there is a overpass that connects Jeonwol-san mountain with Wonsu-san mountain.
Tall trees of rose of Sharon stand in a line.
I thought it would be really beautiful if the flowers blossom together.
There is not only rose of Sharon in the theme park.
There is a flower garden where you can see beautiful, colorful flowers as well.
The administration building of the theme park is nearing completion.
An idea from a design competition of college students was reflected to create this building.
The best work was ‘Circular Ecological Edge’ submitted by a team of Jeong Im-ju
and 4 other members from Korea National University of Transportation.
It fits in with a circular shaped city structure,
and it is designed to harmonize green area with a building using metal.
I quite wonder what it would look like.
As it was difficult to snap the whole view of the theme park,
I took a photo of the gazebo and the deck.
The theme park is really lovely and exquisite.
It was an empty plain in 2017, but it has been changed a lot since then.
There are over 300 kinds of different roses of Sharon
that are distributed throughout the world such as baedalgye, baekdansimgye, and hongdansimgye.
Calling the theme park a global department store of rose of Sharon is no hyperbole.
The theme park will secure the place for education
and relaxation such as picnic area and grass field
so that everyone including natives and foreigners can experience things there.
This could be an opportunity for Sejong to move from Multifunctional Administrative City to an actual administrative capital.
7. What if we plant them this way?
In order for Sejong to set rose of Sharon as its landmark,
it is important to plant the trees on the roadsides for the public view
as well as planting them on a large scale as it does in the theme park.
You cannot see the roses of Sharon unless you visit the theme park on purpose,
so it is more effective to plant them on the street in order for peope to see them naturally.
This is the main street that passes right next to the Sejong City Hall.
The trees in the middle of the road play a role as a median strip.
Currently, tall trees and small trees are planted in turn on the median strip.
I pasted the image of rose of Sharon into the picture with photoshop
because I thought it would be nicer if we plant rose of Sharon there instead of the small trees.
I saw roses of Sharon planted this way in a neighboring city, and I thought that it was a good idea.
Likewise, if we plant roses of Sharon on the median strip of the BRT,
would not people who take buses or drive cars in Sejong have the idea
that "This is the city of rose of Sharon, Sejong!?
If it is difficult to replace the trees,
I think it is necessary to consider planting roses of Sharon in places to be newly constructed.
8. Dreaming of Sejong, the city of rose of Sharon
I think it is desirable that Sejong makes various efforts
to make rose of Sharon, the national flower, as a landmark of the city.
It is also a good idea to host a rose of Sharon festival every year to raise interest in rose of Sharon,
and to distribute it for free so that people can plant and raise it and furthermore grow their love of the country.
It is also essential to make a large-scale theme park of rose of Sharon
and create rose of Sharon gardens everywhere
so that citizens naturally experience it and recall their love of the country.
Furthemore, if we plant it on the roadsides or in the middle of the street where people come and go frequently,
more people will see it and grow their love of the country.
I thought that it was still too early to call Sejong the City of rose of Sharon
while I searched for rose of Sharon in Sejong.
However, it is certain that rose of Sharon
will become the landmark of Sejong before long.
I want to live in Sejong, the center of peaceful,
and livable Republic of Korea,
where roses of sharon bloom beautifully.