A garden for hope

The garden carries important themes. Firstly the ability of nature to heal the wounds of war, as demonstrated in the demilitarised zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea. Secondly, how government policy in South Korea has established forests over a nation stripped of forest by war.

The garden will feature the national flowers of both North and South Korea – Magnolia sieboldii and Hibiscus syriacus respectively. 

It will also represent a piece of regenerating wild Korean woodland. Eden is creating this garden because the story of plants regenerating an area reflects its own heritage as a former mining site which was barren and sterile before the project was built.

South Korea is one of the few countries in the world to have rebuilt its natural capital. Above all the garden will showcase the spectacular natural flora of South Korea – already the source of many valued plants in UK gardens.

We’re working with partners the Korea National Arboretum (KNA) to source plants and seeds and support the design of an authentic and beautiful exhibit. The KNA operates the DMZ Botanic Garden, which is in the ‘punch bowl’ area of the DMZ, so-called because it’s surrounded by hills and mountains. This region was ravaged by particularly fierce battles during the Korean War due to its strategically important position.

Exquisite Korean plants

The Korean Garden will feature lilacs, oaks and magnolias native to the DMZ area. The garden will also host Aristolochia manshuriensis and Aristolochia contorta, hardy relatives of the tropical Dutchman’s pipe, found in our Rainforest Biome.

A rare small apple species native to North Korea and China, Malus komarovii, which is endangered and not available commercially, is also being sourced and, when planted, could be the first example of the species in the UK.

As well as a selection of plants, the garden will boast features quintessential to Korea, including an archway inspired by Korean temples and palaces and a dry riverbed.

Due to open in 2020 on the top edge of our Outdoor Gardens close to the Visitor Centre, the garden will complement our existing Wild Cornwall landscape, the North American Prairie and a new outdoor South African veldt. Each of these has a specific message about ecological regeneration around the world.

Facts about Korea's DMZ

  • The DMZ is the strip of land which acts as a buffer-zone between North and South Korea and is one of the most heavily militarized borders in the world.
  • The area was decimated during the Korean War (1950-53) and is now largely uninhabited but has since developed a lush and varied ecosystem, thanks to lack of human activity in the area.
  • At around 160 miles long and 2.5 miles wide, it is now recognised as one of the most well-preserved areas of temperate habitat in the world. The area crosses mountains, prairies, swamps, lakes, and tidal marshes.
  • It is home to rare species including the red-crowned crane and the goat-like long-tailed goral. The DMZ was created in July 1953 when an armistice was signed by the North and South after the Korean War, which had begun in June 1950.
  • Around 3,500 plants and animals have been identified in the DMZ and Civilian Control Zone (a wider buffer zone around the DMZ), including more than 80 endangered and protected species.