The combined conventions of BCI (Bonsai Clubs International) and ASPAC (Asia-Pacific Bonsai Viewing Stone Convention) were held in Taichung, Taiwan, on November 4-6, 2017. Taichung is about a two to three hour drive south of Taipei. The programs and multiple displays were another hour drive from the two convention hotels in Taichung. We had plenty of bus rides and a lots of waiting time. I guess logistically it is difficult to move over 1,000 people around and to feed them as well.
Over 1,000 people registered for the convention from 58 different countries. The main event, the Hwa Fong National Bonsai Exhibition requires a separate blog entry because of its importance. Additionally, there was an International Bonsai Symposium held concurrently in the National Museum.
The program included bus trips to several gardens/nurseries, private bonsai collections and museums. It was a bit confusing to me because the of the multiple buses which did not follow the printed itinerary. So, I’m just going to share photos of the beautiful gardens and bonsai only identifying locations which I’m certain of.
One of the finest, non broom style Zelkova I’ve seen
New growth emerging
Several of the gardens had HUGE trained garden trees which have bonsai shapes. These large trees are grown in containers and moved with cranes into garden landscapes. The private bonsai collections all featured these large shaped trees throughout their gardens.
Chen Mei Culture Park
The Bonsai & Viewing Stone Exhibition of the 14th ASPAC was presented at the Chen Mei Culture Park. The viewing stones and a few bonsai were displayed in the modern welcoming center of the park, while the larger bonsai were beautifully displayed surrounding a scenic pond.
This stroll garden has many old rare garden trees. In 1813 a county magistrate built a market and the original home was reconstructed, using traditional building techniques during the past 30 years. It is considered to be one of the most famous traditional buildings in Taiwan.
I particularly found this garden valuable for my better understanding of Chinese aesthetics which features symmetry. The buildings, their details and even how bonsai were displayed in the park, (not considering the special convention bonsai display around the pond,) were all symmetrical, unlike the asymmetrical beauty of Japanese art. It was quite clear to me to see why larger bonsai are valued in China so they could be effectively displayed in gardens. Japan does not have the tradition of enjoying bonsai in gardens, as they formally displayed bonsai indoors in alcoves and historically in restaurants.