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TianWei Highway Garden
Visiting the Home of Flowers

--By Regina Su Translated by Cara Steenstra

TianWei, located south of Taichung in Changhua county, is famous in Taiwan, not only as the largest botanical recreational garden area, but also the one with the longest history on the island. It boasts an area of over 1,000 hectares, filled with flowers, plants and trees, as well as approximately 250 shops selling plants. Most of the residents in this area are involved in plant nursery research, plant wholesale, the sale of fruit trees and grass turf, landscaping, plant maintenance and other related services.

The chrysanthemum blossom season falls each year between October and March. Farmers use artificial light to extend the daylight hours to control the development of the flower buds. This delayed blossoming allows the stems to grow longer, maintaining the length at 20 inches, which aids in the promotion of overseas sales. The lights are on between 9 p.m. and 12 midnight, illuminating the flowerbeds like it was day. This wonderful sight has made TianWei a great evening dating destination. Farmers adjust the time and length of the artificial lighting according to the weather and climate, and visitors who would like to see the artificially-lit chrysanthemum fields should call in advance to find out about the lighting schedule.

Another TianWei attraction is a seven-kilometer-long "Hundred Flowers Bicycle Path", with travel guides signposted along the way. At the moment there are two self-service flower-picking gardens along the bicycle path, allowing visitors to go in and pick their own flowers, which vary according to the seasons. Availability depends on the climate and season. Therefore, it is advisable to contact the garden owners before making a trip out there, in order to find out which flowers are in season and what their conditions are like.

With the increase in tourism activities brought on by the two-day weekend introduction, a lot of garden cafes and restaurants have sprung up. These places have blended in with the surrounding scenery, joining many shops also established around the area. Special plants, trees and flowers can be seen all around. Not only can you enjoy a great day out, but you can also learn about botanical life. And, when you get tired, just stop at a cafe for a cup of herbal tea.
In an effort to promote herbs, farmers have devised many new ideas to attract customers, such as herbal ice cream, herbal ice lollies, herbal meat buns, herbal hot pot, steak with herbs, and much more. If you like what you taste, you can buy the herbs or the plants to bring home and cultivate yourself.

Quan De Rose Garden
Address: 422, MinSheng Rd., Sec. 1, TianWei Xiang (township), ChangHua County
Tel: (04) 824-5889 / (04) 823-8365
Hours: 10 am-9:30 pm (closed Tuesdays, unless a holiday falls on the same day)
The pointed roof design of this cafe gives the place a European atmosphere, which changes with nighttime scenery. There are seasonal herbs grown here, along with a century-old coffee tree and an eighty-year-old cherry blossom tree. Specials include Fresh Herbal Hot Pot, Tiramisu Waffles and Lemon Mousse Waffles. There is also a bird sanctuary next to the restrooms.
Greenway Cafe
Address: 581, MinZhu Rd., Sec. 1, TianWei Xiang, ChangHua County
Tel: (04) 823-3198
Hours: 9 am-7 pm (open to 9 pm Sat/Sun)
Website: www.greenway-cafe.com.tw/
With an area of 5,000 pings, this 80-year-old-garden cafe is the first of its kind. Parties of 20 people or more can join their group tours, where you are taught how to use herbs for healthy eating. There are also many other DIY courses for kids and families. Groups of over 80 people can enjoy a European-style buffet, making this a great place for company events or large gatherings.
Jiang Yuan Coffee
Address: 162, GongYuan Rd., Sec. 1, TianWei Xiang, ChangHua County
Tel: (04) 824-2601
Hours: 9 am-10 pm (open year round)
Website: www.jg.go2tw.net
An outdoor seating area provides a different perspective of this garden. With an area of over 3,000 pings, there are all kinds of botanical life here. One-day tours and talks on the plants are available, as well as landscaping design project consultations.
San Yi Inn
Address: 121, MinZhu Rd., Sec. 1, TianWei Xiang, ChangHua County (300 meters from the Highway Garden South Entrance)
Tel: (04) 883-3528
A weekday stay for two people starts at NT$1,000 here. There is one twin room, four four-person rooms, and one family room for 10. This inn can accommodate up to 40 guests, and overnight guests can enjoy a tour of the artificially-lit chrysanthemum garden.
Sheng Yuan Cactus
Address: GongYuan Road, Sec. 1, TianWei Xiang, ChangHua County
Tel: (04) 823-2120
Hours: 9 am-7 pm
There are 400 to 500 kinds of cacti here, from palm-size varieties to ones that are as big as trees, making this a major cactus wholesaler in Taiwan.
Guang Shan Gardening
Address: 259, MinSheng Rd., Sec. 1, TianWei Xiang, ChangHua County
Tel: (04) 823-7556
Hours: 8:30 am-6 pm
Website: http://miraculous.idv.tw/
The tropical "miracle fruit" sold here is red in color and can alter your taste buds. After eating a miracle fruit, you can eat a raw lemon and not taste its sourness. This place sells miracle fruit seedlings, fertilizers and miracle fruit baskets, ice products and other related products. They also provide miracle fruit cultivation technique information exchanges, problem diagnosis and after-care services.
Orchid Kingdom
Address: 618, MinZhu Rd., Sec. 1, TianWei Xiang, ChangHua County
Tel: (04) 823-2425
Hours: 8 am-7 pm
The owner of this place has been in the orchid business for 25 years, and travels to Japan each year to learn more about orchid cultivation. This is the largest orchid wholesaler in the Highway Gardens, and is a great place for choosing New Year gifts.
Phoenix Garden
Address: 478, MinSheng Rd., Sec. 1, TianWei Xiang, ChangHua County
Tel: (04) 823-4069
Hours: 8 am-6 pm
All flowers and plants here are clearly marked, and displays are changed according seasonally. Their specialty product is a healthy ice made from herbs and flowers.
Long Sheng Gardening Equipment
Address: 41, MinSheng Rd., Sec.2, TianWei Xiang, ChangHua County
Tel: (04) 822-9822
Hours: 8 am-6 pm (opens 9 am Sundays)
Website: http://www.intensive.idv.tw/gardening/
This business specializes in wholesale and retail of imported gardening and landscaping material and equipment. There are 40,000 to 50,000 kinds of goods, including strange-looking stones and pieces of wood, rock designs for landscaping, special porcelain vases and much more. The staff is also available to answer questions about gardening.
Xin Yi Artificial Plants and Trees
Address: 442, MinSheng Rd., Sec. 1, TianWei Xiang, ChangHua County
Tel: (04) 824-6922
Hours: 9:30 am-6:30 pm
Website: www.xinyi.go2tw.net
Imported artificial plants and trees are available for retail and wholesale here, and landscaping and garden design services are also available. In addition, there are NT$10 specials available sometimes.

Travel Information
TianWei Image Commercial Development Association
Tel: (04) 823-0560
TianWei Xiang Highway Garden Tourist Information Services Center
Hours: 9 am-5 pm
Tel: (04) 883-2626 Fax: (04) 883-5757
Provides group-tour information services, and half-day tour guide (NT$1,200), suitable for company or group outings. Reservations required.
DIY Flower Picking Field
Flower Productions and Sales Class No. 8 (tel: 04-883-1551)
Flower Productions and Sales Class No. 15 (tel: 04-883-1828)
Song Mong Bicycle Rentals
Tel: (04) 883-6061
Many tandem and other bicycles are available for rent. Group reservations are accepted.
By car:
Heading South: Heading south on the north-south Route 1 ZhongShan Freeway, get off at the Yuan Lin interchange and turn right onto the Taiwan Provincial Highway No. 1 (ZhongShan Rd.). You will reach TianWei in 15 minutes.
Heading North: Heading north on the north-south Route 1 ZhongShan Freeway, get off at the BeiDou interchange and turn left onto the Taiwan Provincial Highway No. 1 (ZhongShan Rd.). You will pass through BeiDou within 15 minutes and come to TianWei.
By public transportation:
Bus: RenYou Bus and YuanLin Bus (Lian Ying Bus), Taichung? XiLuo? JiaYi Line? TianWei Elementary School? walk five minutes and you will reach the south entrance of the Highway Garden
RenYou Bus Company (04) 2225-5166
YuanLin Bus Company (04) 722-3153
There are two entrances to the TianWei Highway Garden. One entrance is at the intersection of ZhongShan Road and MinSheng Road, section1; the other entrance is at MinZhu Road, section 1. The tourist information center and parking lot are both situated at the south entrance (MinZhu Road, sec. 1).

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