Thursday, October 17, 2013

Letter from Taiwan

Temple dragon in Taichung, Taiwan
This temple dragon near Taichung's Botanical Gardens faces a convenience store across the lane

In public spaces here in Taiwan I frequently see jungle geraniums used as shrubs, squared off as if they were boxwood. I have found vertical gardens in both commercial and park settings, living walls indoors and out. I have witnessed orchid foliage and roots attached to trees along a city street in Taichung and orchids in bloom holding on to temple garden trees above Sun Moon Lake.  In a Taipei park I discovered the name of a flowering perennial that blooms wild in my Lowcountry front yard late each August: zephyr lily. Also in Taipei, I attended a bonsai exhibition and was reminded of the tiny pine I'm growing in a styrofoam cup at home,  reminded that I need to be more proactive in its mapping out its growth. I've come across tree roots that look like a map of unexplored territory. I've visited a flower market, which turned out to be more like a series of connected plant nurseries rather than the florist mecca I imagined. I've enjoyed the perfume of plumeria blossoms. I've walked among treetops in the Xitou Forest Recreation Area and seen tree ferns that delighted the eye. And I'm not done yet. One day soon I'll visit Taichung's Botanical Garden. Perhaps as early as this afternoon.

Angel's Trumpet
Angel's Trumpet growing near an ancient red cypress tree in Xitou Forest Recreation Area
Why don't my angel's trumpets thrive like this?

Inside a vendor's tall at Taichung's Flower Market

Bougainvillea galore

Also at the Flower Market

Downtown Taichung
A segment of the Calligraphy Greenway in Taichung

Calla lily with spider at Xitou Forest Recreation Area
Calla lily with spider at Xitou

Changhua, Taiwan
A lovely tableau in Changhua

Hibiscus at Xitou Forest Recreation Area
Hibiscus at Xitou Forest Recreation Area

A back wall inside a Taichung shopping mall

Orchid attached to tree, Taichung, Taiwan
Orchid attached to tree

Plumeria blossom
Plumeria blossom

Outside of a shopping mall in Taichung

Xitou Forest Recreation Area
Xitou Forest Recreation Area

Tree fern at Xitou
Tree fern in Xitou

Zephyr lily
Zephyr Lily grow in a Taipei park

Tree roots at Shueili Snake Kiln in Taiwan
Amazing tree roots at Shueili Snake Kiln

Luxuriant hibiscus growing near Sun Moon Lake

At the Bonsai Exhibition in Taipei

Taipei Expo Park

Ornamental ginger at Syuanguang

The brand new Ikea in Taichung