Exotic Jeju Island  
... in Search of Garden Treasures

Off to Jeju Island in a few more weeks. I've been there spring and summer and now looking forward to some autumn pictures. 

The gardens are prolific and all along the highways, in the summer, there are thousands of hanging baskets of gorgeous flowers.

Jeju-do, sits in the Pacific just off the southern shore of South Korea and it has the perfect climate for tropical flowers.  

 It's my favourite island paradise, small but....

Good things come in small packages!

Think you'd like to visit?  Get more information here at the Life in Korea website.  

Jeju Island Climate

Before you visit, here's some information about Jeju Island's climate. The summers are scorching hot and humid and Jeju Island is the warmest and wettest place in Korea.

Fall is best - the temperature's warm but humidity and rainfall are down.

  • Monsoon begins late June through July. Heavy rains and thick fog might last into August. These torrential rains can really “put a damper” on your photography. Take my word for it - being caught in a monsoon deluge is nasty - and definitely not healthy for your camera equipment.
  • Summer is agonizingly hot and humid on Jeju Island so prepare to sweat A LOT! Carry drinking water with you at all times and stay hydrated. By the way, don't drink water from the tap in Korea.

Yeomiji Botanical Garden in the Jungmun Resort

Yeomiji Botanical Garden steals the lion's share of my time when I'm on the Island.  Come see why!

The garden is in the posh Jungmun Resort (say it “Jung-moon”) on the southwest Pacific shore of Jeju Island. About 50 minutes drive from Jeju City.

The conservatory is a central observation tower with five adjoining greenhouses. From above it has the shape of a sunflower but from the ground.... the unit looks somewhat like a UFO.

It only takes one visit to see why this Jeju Island botanical garden claims to be the largest and best in Asia! Go here to see why.

Holy Hummingbirds Batman!

I was at Yeomiji Botanical Garden, sitting on a bench in the centre hall and there it was... hovering beside my arm.  I thought it was a hummingbird at first but couldn't explain the long siphon in place of a beak!

... First encounter with one of these strange beings.

Meet the hummingbird hawk moth (Sphingidae)! Absolutely incredible and, no, the video isn't in fast motion! This fellow is about the size of my little finger and insanely fast.

He rolls that little siphon up and then he shoots it out again into another delicious flower.

The Yeomiji Botanical Garden page has more about where I found this little fella.

It was almost impossible to get the video camera to focus because he's a speedy Gonzales and he's got a teeny-tiny body.

The photos are from Jeju-do but the video was taken at Daegu University. These little nectar lovers adore honeysuckle and there's lots of it on campus!

It seems there aren't any 'real' hummingbirds in South Korea - but I don't know that for a fact. That's what Koreans tell me.

Click on the blue labels on the map to read about the individual outdoor gardens.You'll get a good idea of just how large Yeomiji Botanical garden is!

Jeju Island Trivia

  • It used to be called “Quelpart” after a Dutch ship that accidentally sighted it. The ship was blown off course on its way from Taiwan to a Dutch trading base in Japan. Jeju Island would have been a heavenly place to be stranded!After the Japanese annexation in 1910, it was called “Saishû” - Japanese for Jeju.
  • If you're researching this fascinating island, you might find it as “Cheju-do” if the information was published before 2000. (In Korean, “do” means island.)
  • You think Hawaii's got it all? Well, Jeju-do's also a volcanic island "extraordinaire". Come and see the cool botanical life here. As a matter of fact, Jeju Island is nicknamed the Hawaii of Asia.
  • There's a neat kind of wetland on Jeju-do called Gotjawal Forest. Surprising that today any part of the world is free form humans messing about with it... but here it is.  Totally undisturbed in the island's entire history.  Can't you just picture the scientists drooling over it?
  • Besides its botanical wonders, Jeju Island is known for numerous other things - like stone gods of fertility and protection... the adorable stone grandfathers or "dol hareubang". These little fellas, about 3 meters high, are carved from basalt -- that's volanic rock.  They've got ear to ear grins, bulging eyes, mushroom-like caps... talk about a phallic symbol. I sure had a chuckle the first time I saw them
  • Golf? You got it!... 24 major golf courses.  If you, or someone close to you, is a golf freak... you're headed to the right place. Tee off on Jeju Island. And get this. You can golf here all year round with the mild climate.

If you want more information about this amazing island, check the English language site for the island here.

Wrapping It Up

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