Early-blooming winter flowers set the stage for spring visits

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Taipei, Feb. 10 (CNA) Winter flowers at tourist destinations such as Wuling Farm in Taichung and Alishan Mountain in Chiayi County have started blooming earlier than usual, paving the way for tourists to visit places before the next flower festivals.

The Chiayi Forest District Office revealed that while the annual Alishan Flower Festival was scheduled this year between March 10 and April 10, the mountain’s winter flora has already blossomed earlier than expected, which makes it the ideal time for tourists to visit the destination without encountering large crowds.

Speaking to CNA on Thursday, deputy bureau chief Lee Ting-chung (李定忠) said five varieties of cherry blossoms have already bloomed on the mountain, and two other types are also blooming on Alishan roads. .

Besides cherry blossoms, camellias, daisies, malacoids, hydrangeas and magnolias also bloomed, Lee added.

Cherry blossoms also bloomed earlier than expected at Wuling Farm, causing unexpected traffic jams on the road to the tourist hotspot.

About 70 percent of the cherry blossoms on the farm have bloomed, according to the farm’s deputy manager, Hu Fa-tao (胡發韜).

As a result, while the farm’s cherry blossom festival won’t open until February 12, a large number of tourists have already started visiting the farm in the past few days, causing queues of vehicles that stretched up to five kilometres.

Hu added that the farm has launched its population control protocols for both foot traffic inside the farm and cars waiting outside to enter, with a wait time of entry estimated per car between 10 and 30 seconds.

He also said the farm expects full bloom to occur between February 15 and 18, when around 21,000 cherry blossoms will paint a beautiful landscape through the end of February.

During the festival itself, between February 12 and 28, the farm will limit its capacity to 6,000 people per day.

Visitors in vehicles without a reservation will not be allowed to enter the farm and must use public transport, Hu said.

Hu went on to explain that the premature blooming of cherry blossoms on the farm this year was due to climate change causing a warm winter accompanied by heavy rainfall.

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