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HUALIEN (花蓮) - TAROKO (太魯閣)






Monday, December 3, 2018


It’s already December but it feels so hot in Changhua province.  With temperatures soaring to 28°C you won’t even think that it’s already winter in Taiwan.  So remove your winter jackets because autumn is still saying hi to everyone.  Haha! The warm weather here makes it perfect to grow a type of plant with specialized leaves called bracts, that are often mistaken to be flowers.   Meet the bougainvillea, our featured plant for the last hurrah of the luomujie blog’s Blooming Autumn Travel Series.

Seeing it is like witnessing a miracle in Central Taiwan and expect to find them in Huifeng Gardening - Bougainvillea House (輝豐園藝-九重葛之家).   It's not an official tourist attraction but it is open for visitors for free. Teeming with tourists from November 1 to mid-December, it is a must-see place when you visit the town of Tianwei,  Changhua’s gardening district.

A garden here, a garden there.  Business in the town is really alive!  Foreigners will become crazy when they realized that Tianwei is a place where gardening is a form of livelihood.  From pots to small seedlings of flowers, up to pine trees,  name it, and they have it.  Locals usually rent a bike to explore the entire town but I just opted to walk to get to my destination.

bougainvilleas in other private gardens in Tianwei

bougainvilleas in other private gardens in Tianwei

Stroll around and you will notice that there are also gardens that have their own bougainvilleas.  But the best place and the most picturesque spot to be is in Huifeng Gardening - Bougainvillea House.   The owners have trimmed the plants to follow a certain shape like a real topiary.   It was easy for the gardener to do that since the bougainvilleas can be “trained” to follow a certain pattern for its growing vines.  

Magenta vs white.  It’s a battle with these two colors.  The former makes the bougainvillea very striking while the latter giving it an impression of purity.   Under the blue sky, the purple-reddish leaves dominate the whole place.  Perfect for those taking selfies. 

I was lucky when I went to see the bougainvilleas.  It was noontime and most of the visitors were having their lunch, so I was able to get good photos.  The owner has only one reminder for tourists:  As you take pictures, do not force yourself to get in between the small spaces of each bougainvillea.  The branches of the plant are easy to break that it will take a long time to grow them again.  Just imagine the hard work of the gardener to maintain the entire place, only to be destroyed by careless visitors in only a few seconds. 

How to go to Huifeng Gardening - Bougainvillea House (輝豐園藝-九重葛之家)? Board the Taiwan High Speed Rail and get off at Changhua Station.  You can can here your HSR tickets to or from Taipei here:
Go to Exit 1 and then transfer to Bus 7.  Get off the vehicle at Tianwei Elementary School stop [Google Map] and walk to 1.4 kilometers to reach the private garden [Google Map].  Look at the topiary of magenta-colored bracts.  Colorful despite not being a flower.  Visitors can also board the trains of the TRA.  Just alight at Tianzhong Station and then board Bus 7 at the bus stop [Google Map] in front of the train station.

The tiny white flowers of this bougainvillea are its "true" flowers.  The magenta-colored "petals" are specialized leaves that helps to get the attention of pollinators like bees and butterflies.

A close up of the bracts (specialized leaves) and the true flowers of the bougainvillea

The specialized leaves of the bougainvilleas. False flowers, True beauty. 

Changhua flowers - Huifeng Gardening - Bougainvillea House (輝豐園藝-九重葛之家) [Travel in Taiwan 181202 (Blooming Autumn): False Flowers, True Beauty]

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