Yeomiji Botanical Garden
... Indoors or out, these gardens rock!

Yeomiji Botanical Garden  (say it “Yuh-me-jee”) is one of five official botanical gardens and arboreta in South Korea.  

Yeomiji means “a beautiful land”. They got that right!

  • Yeomiji Botanical Garden claims to be the best botanical garden in all of Asia.

Since I haven't been to every one of them, I can't really say.  But I can tell you that it's a botanical garden not to be missed.  You'll be euphoric with the bounteous conservatory, greenhouse and outdoor garden displays. 

Devote a few days... not a few hours... to this paradise.


A cheerful little train that does duty all day chugging through the garden.... it stops inside the front gate at the garden entrance.

Jump on, take your seat and the man will come and take your money for your ticket. 

I went on the train tour my first time at the garden just to get my bearings.It takes 10 or 15 minutes and while I was chugging around the garden, I planned out my walking tour.

It's always a good idea to get on a tour before you go hiking off with your camera. Even more important if you have limited time to spend there.

Once you're finished the tour, you'll pass the hydrangea walk... so gorgeous when they're in bloom!

"These gardens rock!"

  • The beautiful, dark Jeju Island volcanic soil starts with the volcanic basalt rock from Halla Mountain which is abundant in minerals and organic matter.
  • The soil is a delectable, moist, profusely aerated soil concoction that the subtropical and temperate plants of Jeju Island thrive in.

For a look at the Yeomiji Botanical Garden website, click here.

Conservatory, Center Hall and Greenhouse Gardens at Yeomiji Botanical Gardens

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.

Terrific place to take a portrait.... with the spring floral display as a backdrop.

We're in the central hall and it's usually very busy. I waited until it was closing and most people had left.

Don't you love the brightly coloured pod elevator? It takes you up to the observation tower for a 360° panoramic view. Jeju Island is a golfer's fantasy and from the top there's a fabulous view of a golf course and the gardens.


I was at sitting on a bench in the Yeomiji Botanical Garden 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!

... My first encounter with one of these tiny "whirly-birds".

For the rest of the story on the hummingbird hawk moth I met there, visit my Jeju Island page.  

And visit the Nature Canada article on the Hummingbird Moth.

The Flower Garden
... the first greenhouse on the left

  • This is the place for orchids. And plenty of other flowers to photograph. There's a marvellous begonia display at the back -- the lighting isn't optimal for photography. You'll need to use just a bit of fill flash. 




The Water Garden
... next to the flower garden Greenhouse

Jeju Island is a horticultural paradise and this garden shows off it's water baby blooms. 

  • You'll find several ponds of water lilies here... and papyrus - the original writing paper! All excellent subjects for flower photography.

Here's more information and more pictures of waterlilies on my website.

Did you know...

  • Yeomiji Botanical Garden has the rare blue water lily in the water garden?
  • Nymphaea caerulea (Blue Lotus --- it's not a lotus!) is also called the Egyptian Lotus
  • In ancient Egypt it was considered a symbol of excellent health and rebirth and as well as a symbol of sexuality.  
  • It has aphrodisiac effects, causes euphoria and sedation and helps vision.

The light in the greenhouses can be quite strong so you'll get shadows and super reflections. Bring along a polarizing lens if you want to reduce the reflections on the water.

I have some beautiful note cards here in my gift shop. The blue waterlily, above, is one of them. There's a large variety of images and you'll also be able to purchase prints.

If you've got strong light, use it and play with the dark shadows. I got some interesting shots of dark ceiling beams reflecting on the water. I used them to frame the waterlilies.

Watch the video and see how nicely you can use shadows to frame your subjects. To do that right, you'll need a tripod for stability.

Here's where you'll find more water lilies.

Sit back and enjoy this minute of video entertainment. Brought to you by Me :) and the Waterlily Garden at Yeomiji Botanical Garden.

Music: Valentina's Romanza (BeatheBeat) which can be purchased through http://audiojungle.net (item #83036), part of Envato.com




The Desert Garden
... oh, so prickly, better not touch!

There are almost 500 cacti species right here in this greenhouse at Yeomiji Botanical Garden.  A outstanding place to find lots of lines and patterns.

  • Try some close-ups or use a macro lens if you have one. 
  • For a thrill, try out a Lensbaby! Don't have one? I purchased a Velvet 56 this past summer. You might find a camera shop that rents them.  Try before you buy. There are several different types of Lensbabies.

Rows of rounded cacti with their barbed needles make for some interesting repeating patterns and textures. You wouldn't want to sit on one of these!

These look like alien life forms... little faces with eyes and tentacles.

When you get so close to nature, there are things you can hardly imagine. I'm always amazed at what I see through a macro lens... a whole world we aren't usually aware of.

I took both vertical and horizontal views of this cactus but I liked the lines and patterns better in the vertical view.


Don't despair if you only have your cell phone with you when some close up photo opportunities come up. You can work that cell phone camera like you wouldn't believe...

There are ways to get more out of your cell phone camera. You don't need a fancy DSLR.  Need some help with your iPhoneography?

  • You can control your exposure so you don't have to leave it up to your cell phone camera to decide.
  • You can get tiny lenses (like Olloclip) that give you more flexibility in your photos.
  • There are countless apps that give you fabulous creative options using your cell phone camera

The Jungle Garden
... It looks and feels like the Amazon!

We're in a rain forest ecosystem now, just like the Amazon Jungle!

  • The vegetation is thick with tall palms and rubber trees... ferns and other dangling jungle plants everywhere... lots of insectivorous plants. 
  • Great photo material. Because of the dense growth, it can be a bit dark and you may need to use fill flash or longer exposures.

This fellow has a partner who didn't make it into the scene! They have the swamp to themselves... except for some giant Mesozoic flowers and ferns.

On the other side are a couple of dinosaurs, to show both ancient and present day life in a rain forest... yes, right here in Yeomiji Botanical Garden!

The Tropical Fruits Garden
... Looks delicious!

Coffee, mangoes, starfruit and...

  • Asian jackfruit that can weigh up to 36 kg... all in this delectable fruity greenhouse.  36 kg? Are you kidding me?  
  • In this garden with all the yummy stuff,  another opportunity for interesting patterns and lines in the exotic fruits -- a macro lens would come in handy.

I realize the 7 dwarfs aren't fruit but they were hanging around the garden. Chuckle :) 

When I went back several months later, they'd disappeared.  Aww, the kids loved Snow White and her buddies.

The Outdoor Gardens at Yeomiji
... tour the world in one botanical garden

There are 4 cultural gardens and several theme parks in this popular Jeju Island garden. They'll keep you and your camera busy the entire day. 

Starting out from the front entrance of the Greenhouses... the Palm Garden is on the left, across from the hydrangea walk.

Several of the palms had small asters clinging to the tree trunks... photos were a must!

The Cheju Native Plants Garden at Yeomiji Botanical Garden is dedicated to conserving the Jeju Island endemic plants and their endangered species. Visit this endemic garden to see how well they're doing.


The Perennial Garden

I spent a lot of time photographing the Perennial Garden beside the Japanese Garden. Include the basalt rocks in your photos to show the volcanic origin of the island and it's rich soil.

The Children's Garden
... Featuring good nutrition!

The Children's Garden is a tiered, circular, sunken garden.

At different times of the year they plant vegetables in this sheltered circular garden. But the plantings vary. Everything grows so quickly in the hot, humid climate.

Behind is a field of thick deep golden rudbeckia. 

The Children's GardenThe Children's Garden at Yeomiji is a circular, tiered garden with all kinds of vegetables and on all my visits, a topiary duck in the middle.

The Formal French Garden
... Louis XIV would be proud

The classic formal French Garden photographed in the morning mist.

Well manicured hedges and roses bushes, a central fountain... and a direct view of the Italian fountain. With all these lines and angles, you absolutely must line everything up straight before you snap - nothing leaning -- use a tripod!


The Italian Garden
... Rome's Fountain Obata 

Even though you're on Jeju Island in South Korea, you get the feeling you're in Europe.

Right next door to the French Garden is the Italian Garden.

The gigantic teacup-shaped fountain is a replica of the Fountain Obata near Rome.

This is no tea-cup sized fountain, folks. It's gigantic and the sound of the water splashing is amazing. Sit in one of those chairs and listen to it.


The Lawn Garden
... where families relax together

The Lawn Garden is behind the conservatory. Mostly grass but there's a topiary peacock with flowering tail feathers, ornamental trees and some basalt sculptures.

You can catch some nice landscape photography here.

There are usually families relaxing on the lawn.

In this shot, a Red Horse Chestnut frames a sculpture and covers a boring gray monsoon sky


The Traditional Korean Garden
... Nature's garden design

The Korean Garden has a colourful traditional pavilion and water lily pond with lots of native flowering shrubs.

Traditional Korean gardens, like other Asian gardens. aren't formal like Western gardens. Instead, they merge in with nature. They're very simple with trees and water features -- ponds, streams or rivers, and maybe some waterfalls.


The Japanese Garden

The Japanese Garden has several varieties of stunning irises and a large pond full of Koi fish. 

Hydrangeas, trees and shrubs make a thick frame around the red half-moon bridge.

There's a dry garden of rock and sand on the other side of the bridge. Spend a few minutes sitting and meditating beside it.


Wrapping It Up

Visit, or stay at, the posh Jungmun Resort (say it “Jung-moon”) on the southwest Pacific shore of Jeju Island. About 50 minutes drive from Jeju City.

Yeomiji Botanical Garden is part of the resort and walking distance from all the major hotels. Dedicate at least a full day to do the gardens and greenhouses justice.

For the best photography experience, take along your tripod and be sure to protect your gear during rainy season. It's worth the trip from Seoul, less than an hour's flight, so make every effort to work it in if you're going through Inch'eon. 

For the official Yeomiji Botanical Garden site, click here.


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