Known as the ‘flower of winter,’ camellias are popular for their vibrant blooms and propensity to flower in warmer climates, making them among the first blossoms you can see in Jeju. As camellias reach the end of their bloom, each flower drops individually, creating a scene reminiscent of a red carpet where the flowers once were.
▶ Hyun Maeng-chun’s Wimi Camellia Tree Grove
▲ Wimi Camellia Tree Grove
Hyun Maeng-chun’s Wimi Camellia Tree Grove is located midway along Olle Trail Course 5, starting from Namwon Port in Namwon-eup, Seogwipo City, and ending at Soesokkak. This site is designated as Jeju Monument No. 39. It is said that Grandma Hyun Maeng-chun (1858-1933) saved money from her frugal life to buy this land and planted camellia seeds from Hallasan Mountain to cultivate the barren land and shield it from the sea winds. Visitors can see over 500 camellia trees, which are green all year round and can grow over 10 meters tall. The largest tree has a girth of 1.4 meters and reaches up to 10 meters in height. When you search for ‘Wimi Camellia Tree Grove’ in your navigation, you will find this place where, rather than blooming all at once, the flowers bloom gradually from November to the following March, repeatedly shedding and fruiting. While the trees may not bloom in a lavish display all at once, which might be disappointing to some, the remnants of fallen petals, like a red carpet beneath your feet, give a hint of how many flowers have bloomed and fallen, telling the story of the grove's enduring beauty.
▲ Jeju Camellia Arboretum
Currently, you can only view this forest from outside and it's unfortunately closed off. You will get to see plenty of those flowers from outside. You can instead try visiting Jeju Camellia Arboretum. Built by Hyun's great-great grandson, the arboretum is about 700 meters from the forest.
[Wimi Camellia Tree Grove]
23-7, 300-bun gil Wimi-ri Joongangno, Namwon-eup, Seogwipo-si
▶ Beautiful Camellia Village Shinheung 2-ri
▲ Photo courtesy of Jeju Tourism Organization (visitjeju.net)
Referred to as the Camellia Village, Shinheung 2-ri in Seogwipo is a place where you can encounter native camellias. In winter, the village paths are dyed red with blooming camellias. The vivid camellia flowers blooming in every alley and the tranquil atmosphere of the village combine to offer a romantic winter travel experience filled with charm. Since 2007, efforts have been made to create a Camellia Village by communalizing Camellia tree groves, designated as Jeju Monument No. 27. The camellia forest includes old trees over 300 years old forming a significant presence. The villagers themselves take care of the camellias and run various experience programs. Utilizing the camellia oil extracted from Jeju’s native camellias, they offer culinary programs like camellia oil bracken fiddlehead pasta class, camellia oil abalone porridge, and a full meal with camellia oil bibimbap. There are also beauty-related experiences like making camellia oil and camellia toner products. It is highly recommended to check these out and experience them firsthand.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.net)
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