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A ROMANTIC ROSE SHOW
Spring is the season of weddings, new beginnings and romance. So what better way to celebrate it than being surrounded by roses, the symbol of unconditional love?The rose has been Korea’s best-loved flower since the first survey of favourite flowers was conducted in 1990, according to research company Gallup Korea. Approximately one million of the affectionately named “queen of flowers” greet visitors in the gardens of Everland at its 27th annual Rose Festival, which will continue through June 17 at the Yongin amusement park, an hour drive south from Seoul. It started on May 11. Four differently themed gardens boast 850 different species of roses in all colors, ranging from the classic red, soft orange, vibrant yellow, light violet and pure white.
The four rose gardens are “perfect” places for lovers to enjoy each others’ company.Out of the four, the Victoria Garden is arguably the best area for a lovers’ stroll. As the name suggests, it was built in the British Victorian style, characterized by repeating patterns and archways. Rose buds climb up the white fence walls, which surround a wide area full of flowers. The roses are planted in a circular arrangement with the pathways forming a circle with a cross through the centre. Lovers and families alike stroll through the garden hand in hand. Visitors can stop anywhere on the path for a picture as the rose-filled archways surrounding the garden provide a memorable backdrop. The Cupid Garden’s name alone is enough to attract couples. The small garden beside the Victorian one is dedicated to young lovers. In the center is a good spot for pictures with the statue of the winged god of love.
On the outskirts of the Cupid and Victoria gardens are fields of red roses. One of the most unique roses of the red colouring is Love. These roses have petals that are red on the inside and white on the back, resembling a lover’s blushing face.The Venus Garden, located opposite the Cupid, boasts even more statues. White statues, which resemble famous Greek artwork like the Venus de Milo, decorate this area. The fountain in the middle has a large stone centrepiece of an elegantly posed woman holding up a cup as if to toast lovers. Lion heads spout water into the fountain in four directions below her. The wide fountain is flanked by benches, which provide an intimate atmosphere for couples looking for a place to rest. Couples can also be seen lining up to take photographs on a white bench under white Greek columns and a small streetlamp.
“It’s even more beautiful at night,” said Kim Ju-won, 49, who said this is her second time at the Rose Festival. “The lamps light up and the whole place is surrounded by light.”The Venus Garden connects into the Maze, inspired by the Knossos Palace in the ancient Greek myths. According to Greek mythology, King Minos of Knossos decided to create a labyrinth, or maze, to trap the Minotaur, a man-eating monster with the head of a bull and body of a man. Every year, Minos would send people into the maze as a sacrifice to keep the Minotaur content and to prevent it from escaping. This carefully constructed area combines walls of rose bushes with sharply angled corners, mimicking the structure of the maze. Some of these walls rise up to two meters, filling the place with a fragrant perfume when the wind blows through them. In the center of the maze is a fountain with the statue of two embracing lovers, who finally found each other after many twists and turns. They are celebrating the end of the journey with a kiss. "It's a great place to come for a date," said Jeon Hye-jun, 20, who visited the gardens with his girlfriend. "There are lots of places to take photos and create memories.” But the Rose Festival is not just for couples. Many of the sightseers are families and students on field trips, learning new facts about the familiar flower. “It’s my first time seeing orange roses,” said Lee Yeong-mi, 9, who took a day off with her parents to visit Everland. “It’s different from red roses, it’s pretty.” Visitors used to the typical red rose may be pleasantly surprised to find roses of all colors in the gardens. The rose Yume, which is light sherbet-orange in color, is famous for its voluminous petals. It is also relatively easy to grow for less experienced gardeners. Some of the roses even have romantic names, like White Christmas. With pure white petals befitting its name, this queen of white roses is called a masterpiece by many. “These roses are Everland’s pride. They only bloom in the warm season, but the rose bushes need to be taken care of year round, protected under greenhouses in the cold winter months,” an Everland spokesman told The Korea Times. There are also a number of performances, such as photo time with the “Ever-Bee,” and “Rosina's Love Adventure,” starring the princess of Rose Castle at the Four Seasons Gardens. The performance hours can be found on the Everland website (www.everland.com). Couples should also try to locate all seven heart-shaped rose topiaries, or plant structures, set up throughout the gardens. On another note, Everland also received media attention as it introduced a family of endangered golden snub-nosed monkeys to the public, May 24. The family members consist of the parents, Son O-gong and Son So-un, and their three naturally bred offspring, Sinbi, Tori and the baby, born March 31 this year.
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