Former First Lady of the United States Claudia “Lady Bird” Johnson once said, “Where flowers bloom, so does hope.” Although she was likely referring to the season of spring as a whole, images of Taipei’s myriad of blossoming spring flowers inevitably come to mind. Nestled in the heart of a rich, lavish valley, residents and visitors to Taipei alike can enjoy viewing not only pink cherry blossoms and azaleas, but also gorgeous purple flowers during this special time of year.
In this special feature, we have handpicked three of the most famous purple flower scenic spots in Taipei — ranging from the rich violets and hydrangeas in early spring to mesmerizing African lilies and lavender in the latter portion of this season of rebirth and renewal. (Read more: Flower Viewing in Taipei: Three Routes Recommended for Couples, Friends, and Families)
Guting Riverside Park
– An Ever-Flowing Sea of Purple Flowers
Unbeknownst to many, a secret scenic spot for enjoying flowers exists right at the heart of Taipei, and is usually in full bloom from mid-January to mid-March. Located in Guting Riverside Park (古亭河濱公園), not far from Yongfu Bridge (永福橋), over 320,000 pots of flowers and plants are lined up in row upon row, covering an area of about 23.9 basketball courts, forming a seemingly endless sea of flowers. Here locals and visitors alike can enjoy rich purple flowers such as violets and lavender decorated with seasonal pink grass, making for a magnificent sight.
Violets, known for their unique aroma, are small in size and consist of many small heart-shaped petals. This view, coupled with the upright string of purple, feather-leaved lavender, only serves to add further texture and layers to the sea, distinguishing this particular site from other famous riverside flower scenic spots. Together with the surrounding green space and romantic art installations with the names of The Love Arch and SWEET-KISS, it is enough to make one’s heart marvel and blossom at the sight alone!
Not only is this destination easily accessible by public transportation, it is also open to the public for viewing on national holidays and weekends, so everyone can enjoy the beautiful atmosphere of the spring. Be sure to pay a visit in March, when the flowers are at their peak!
– Spring Festival of Purple-Blue Hydrangeas
Located in the central core of Yangmingshan National Park, Zhuzihu (竹子湖) rests at an altitude of 670 meters, and is surrounded by hills, including Mt. Qixing (七星山), overlooking the Taipei Basin. When a volcanic eruption occurred in the distant past, a depression was formed, turning the area into a wetland habitat. As the area was found covered with bamboo forest, people called it Zhuzihu with “zhuzi (竹子)” meaning bamboo, and “hu (湖)” referring to muddy land in Taiwanese. (Read also: The Ultimate Hiking Guide to Yangmingshan National Park)
The acidic soil formed by the volcanic eruption and the chilly temperature of Zhuzihu make it a perfect place for growing flowers. When the season approaches late May, the calla lilies from the previous winter season begin to fade, evoking an inviting atmosphere for the purple-blue hues of the hydrangea to shine and blossom. Throughout the late springtime, you will find a spectrum of periwinkle colors created by layers of hydrangeas, forming a dreamy, wondrous expanse.
In Zhuzihu, there are approximately seven to eight varieties of hydrangeas planted throughout, with diverse colors ranging from pure white, pink with red edges, and pink, to red-purple, light blue, royal blue, and many other vibrant colors. Plumerias can also be found scattered throughout the garden, with hues just as rich and striking, further adding to the ever- changing scenery amongst the hydrangeas and creating an ideal spot for taking pictures.
Neishuangxi Nature Center
– Purple African Lilies
As the temperature rises, the flowers begin shedding their old winter coats and putting on a new blue- purple veil, ushering in a feeling of blossoming romance all around. In May, various flowers bloom in Taipei’s largest forest nature park, Neishuangxi Nature Center (內雙溪自然中心), among which African lilies and lavender are the most eye-catching. The African lilies, otherwise known as “Agapanthus africanus,” consist of brilliant blue-violet bell-like clusters and stand magnificently on tall stems — sometimes reaching a height of 1.2 meters! The seemingly magical feeling of the flower really embodies the old saying of “Love is in the air.” Speaking of the air, you can also smell the aromatic scent brought forth by lavender, whose purple blossoms roll out like a carpet upon the field. (You might also like: Travel Deeper to the Lavender Forest in Taichung)
The flower season of the nature center also happens to coincide with Mother’s Day, offering a once-a-year opportunity to bring our mothers to this special spot to further show our appreciation for all they do. Many local events and activities are also held, where one can take home seeds for planting or even create one’s own DIY scented sachets of dried lavender. Aside from families, friends and couples can also gather here and enjoy the splendid view of the flowers, offering a chance to slow down and really “Stop and smell the flowers.”
Author Catherine Shih
Photographer Geotechnical Engineering Office and Hydraulic Engineering Office, Public Works Department, Taipei City Government, Beitou Farmers’ Association
This article is reproduced under the permission of TAIPEI. Original content can be found on the website of Taipei Travel Net (www.travel.taipei/en).