As I walked into the main exhibition area of the Hwa Fong Show, a row of magnificent bonsai set against steel-gray background captivated my attention! Upon reading the labels, these were past Hwa Fong’s winners, they were on display by invitation only. I do not know whether this is a tradition of the Taiwan national show or this was specially arranged for the benefits of foreign visitors participating this joint BCI event.
Among them were beautiful tropical species such as Premna and Sea Hibiscus which are seldom seen in shows outside of the South East Asian region.
Sea Hibiscus (Hibiscus tilaceous) is a tropical species. In nature, the leaves are very large, however, they could be reduced to tiny leaves. Ramifications in these bonsai are astounding. Looking at the dense twigs, it would take several days and a great patience to defoliate. Here are two past winning Sea Hibiscus owned by Su Wen-Hong (蘇文宏).
The Hwa Fong Show is the most prestigious bonsai show in Taiwan. It is held once a year in November. Exhibited trees went through rigorous selections and this is where one can see some of the highest quality Taiwan bonsai in one place. This year’s 22nd annual show was jointly held with the 14th Bonsai Club International (BCI) Asia-Pacific Bonsai and Viewing Stone Convention from November 4-6. My last visit to Taiwan was eight years ago. With this major show, Professor Amy Liang’s invitation to attend the opening ceremony and banquet of her bonsai garden, “The Purple Garden”, opportunities to meet old friends and several Facebook friends for the first time, and shopping for bonsai accessories, especially bonsai stands; my wife and I decided to take a two-week Taiwan bonsai journey.