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).
Hibiscus tilaceous, height: 92 cm. A 2009 Hwa Fong Show winner.
Another Su Wen-Hong’s Hibiscus tilaceous, height: 99 cm, which won a Special Award in the 2010 show.
A 2016 winning Juniperus chinensis, height: 85 cm., by Lin Qiu-An (林秋安):
A 93 cm tall Juniperus chinensis, a 2007 winner owned by Liu Chan-Ling (劉燦琳):
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.
The exquisitely dressed Professor Amy Liang in purple, her favorite color, during the opening ceremony of her “Purple Garden”. More about it in a future post.
Met Facebook friend, Mr. Chun Sheng Chen (陳春生), for the first time at the opening of the Purple Garden. Mr. Chen conducts bonsai classes in Taipei, and helps out at Professor Amy Liang’s garden. He has a lot of good looking shohin!
My wife with Mr. and Mrs. Clifford Chong (張珺理), met also for the first time after being friends for 2-3 year on Facebook.
Hwa Fong Show 華風展
- A 2014 Grand Champion Podocarpus costalis greeted visitors of the entrance of the exhibition venue. The tree was 80 cm tall.
The Hwa Fong Show is held in the Xizhou Park (溪州公園) of Changhua county, in the central part of Taiwan. Although it is close to many horticultural production centers, landscaping and bonsai nurseries etc., it is not so easy to get there without a car. It is even harder for foreign visitors to get to the park without knowing which train and bus to take, which left the only option of taking the BCI convention buses. However, wait time and an hour journey, each way, from the Taichung convention venue to the exhibit limit the amount of time one could spend at the exhibition hall. Though not familiar with Taiwan, since we speak Chinese we decided to take train and taxi on our own so we could stay as long as we want to. Continue reading