Byoung Sup Ghill
Jinchun, South Korea

Text & Images by Byoung Sup Ghill
Click to enlarge

My father was an avid collector of exotic plants. He used to call his favorite plants his "mistresses", as if he were Nero Wolfe (Remember the fat genius detective, a gourmet, and an orchid enthusiast in Rex Stout's detective stories?), who called his orchids his "concubines". Probably because of my genetic makeup, I was bitten by a plant bug in my early childhood.

At first, it was cacti. During my primary school days, my elder brother and I collected various cacti, being fascinated with their exotic look. In my college days, I nearly drowned myself in extricating one of the N. odorata tubers from a pond at my alma mater. The pond was nearly my height deep and the rhizome was stubborn. And later wild flowers of Korea charmed me. I even went so far as moving from Seoul, the densely populated capital of Korea, to a rural area so that I could grow wild plants in my own garden instead of just enjoying them in their wild habitat or at botanical gardens. Recently, bitten badly by the clematis bug, I collected nearly hundred wild species and cultivars.

Last, but not least, I became seriously addicted to the charm of lotuses and waterlilies. But I could not find detailed information on cultivation/propagation of these lovely plants in Korea. Fortunately, I found this web site, Victoria-Adventure. It was a real eye-opener. I thank Kit and Ben and all of you lotus/waterlily lovers for such wonderful information.




In recent years, water gardening has become big in Korea. There are quite a few Buddhist temples and local governments which display lotuses and waterlilies during summer time. One problem in Korea is that some beautiful lilies are not locally available and import is not easy. During the summer of 2004, "Lotus Lovers' Association of Korea" was founded and I was chosen as the interim staff to organize the further meetings.

I was born on February 1, 1954. After earning BA and MA in English literature, I worked for a few years at the US embassy in Korea. After earning an MBA degree at the UNC at Chapel Hill, I started and ran a few small businesses in Korea. Because of health reasons and the yearning for serious gardening, I quit my business and moved to a rural area called Jinchun, about an hour and half drive south from Seoul. Since 2003, I've been taking a much wanted respite, enjoying the service of my 'concubines.'

My wife's name is Hyo Jung Lee, formerly a nurse. She is several notches above any of my favorite "concubines" :>) She takes care of our vegetable garden wonderfully and we are self-reliant in much of what we eat. My two dogs are, left, 'Yamoo' (meaning savvy) and, right, 'Tough' (In fact he is amiable, not that tough, only wishful thinking on my part). They belong to the Jindo-dog pedigree, similar to the Japanese Akita, only smaller. They accompany my walk almost every day and give me great pleasure.

Byoung Sup Ghill has contributed many startlingly beautiful images to our galleries. A selection of them can be found here --

Gallery 1 | Gallery 2 | Gallery 3

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