In memory of Carl Ferris Miller
Spring is the season of forsythias, azaleas, apricot flowers and cherry blossoms, but my fa-vorite spring flower is the magnolia. I feel some-what nostalgic and romantic when I look at white magnolia flowers in the warm, spring sunlight.
For those who like magnolia flowers, I would like to recommend a trip to the Chollipo Arboretum in Taean, South Chungcheong, which is the best arboretum in the world, ac-cording to the Magnolia Society International. The arboretum has more than 400 magnolia spe-cies. From the magnolia biondii, which buds in March, to the magnolia grandiflora, which blos-soms in early winter, there are all kinds of mag-nolias for every season. Before April passes, I
plan to visit Chollipo to appreciate the beauty of the magnolias.
The founder of the Chollipo Arboretum is Carl Ferris Miller, a former American naval of-ficer who became a naturalized Korean citizen in 1979. Miller came to Korea after the country's liberation from Japan in 1945 and lived here for 57 years. He liked to say that he was a Korean in his previous life and loved the culture and na-ture of the country. The arboretum was his life project. In 1970, he began planting trees in the barren hills of Chollipo Village in Taean Penin-sula, and created the world-class arboretum after 30 years.
Before he passed away at age 81 on April 8, 2002, he donated the 140-acre arboretum, in which he had invested about 100 billion won of his fortune. On the 10th anniversary of his death, the Chollipo Arboretum will honor him with a memorial service. His remains will be cremated and his ashes buried under a rasp-berry fun tree, a magnolia and loebneri hybrid that yields pink flowers. Having devoted his whole life to nature, he will give his last re-mains to the trees.
In celebration of his legacy, the first biogra-phy of Miller, whose Korean name was Min Byung-gal, has been published. The book, " I Am Sorry, Trees," was written by former jour-nalist and personal friend Lim Jun-su and il-lustrates Miller's love for trees and his life in Korea. The biography is a meaningful contribu-tion to the remembrance of his life and work. Miller would also be pleased to know that phi-lanthropist Son Chang-geun has donated 1,580 acres of forests and fields to the government in order to prevent the destruction of nature due to reckless development.
by Bae Myung-bok
* The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.