Jeonju Lee Clan holds planting ceremony in Korean Bell Garden in Virginia

October 1, 2014
Representatives from the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, the Washington Korean Cultural Committee and Jeonju Lee Clan at a planting ceremony inside Korean Bell Garden.

Representatives from the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, the Washington D.C. Korean American Cultural Committee and Jeonju Lee Clan at a planting ceremony inside Korean Bell Garden.

Two ginkgo trees from a historic park in Korea were planted inside Korean Bell Garden in Vienna, Virginia.

The Korean American Cultural Committee and the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority and the Jeonju Lee Clan held a planting ceremony Tuesday.

The donated trees originated from seeds taken by Lee Bok-shin, president of Washington D.C.’s Jeonju Lee Clan, during a 2011 visit to a historic park, Omokdae, in Jeonju, South Korea. Lee planted the seeds in his home near Shenandoah National Park. He then gave seeds from his tree to a clan member.

“Korean ginkgo trees have long lives and grow big,” said National Association for Korean Schools President Lee Nae-won. “In particular, Omokdae ginkgo trees hold a special, historical meaning for growing in a place where Admiral Lee Sung-ge saw victory in 1380.”

The garden, initiated by the KACC in 2005 and which holds a Bell of Peace and Harmony, was completed and opened in 2012 through a partnership with the NVRPA on the 60th anniversary of the Korean War.

“We’re thankful to receive such meaningful Korean trees in a place precious to Koreans in Washington D.C.,” said Lee Jung-hwa, KACC president. “I hope they grow beautifully, and I hope interest grows toward the Korean Bell Garden, a place that’s becoming a home in the hearts of Koreans in the region.”

Paul Gilbert, executive director of NVRPA, said that while Japanese gardens are commonplace in America, Korean ones are still rare.

Gilbert hopes the trees, like the Korean Bell Garden, become symbols of the friendship between South Korea and the United States.

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