Met Hyo-jin (Jinny) Lee this morning for a short walk around the Royal Botanic Gardens. Jinny is the Director of the Australia-Korea Foundation, the organisation that supported Dr Phil Moors from Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne and me to travel to Seoul in July this year. While in Seoul we attended the East Asia Botanic Gardens Network conference, and then visited some wonderful botanic gardens just out of the city - Hantaek Botanical Gardens and the Korean National Arboretum. Phil and I are keen to develop a Diploma in Botanic Gardens Management at Singapore Botanic Garden as part of a broader capacity building program, and to form partnerships with other botanic gardens in our neighbouring regions.
The relationship between Australia and the Republic of Korea began officially in 1961 so it may be appropriate to look at a ceremonial planting in the Royal Botanic Gardens sometime in 2011 to celebrate the 50th year of this relationship. Perhaps we could include a Korean garden of some kind in our Thematic Plan (which is under review) - it could be part of our HSBC Oriental Garden. There are certainly some interesting plants in Korea, including a beautiful pine I saw in Hantaek and lots of herbs and shrubs used for Korean 'bush tucker'.