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Plants can talk. Listen to them whispering - Interview Notes

 

 

 

 

After lunch, we moved on to our last destination to do the interview at the “Tianwei Flower Wholesale Market in Changhua County”. This is the place I must pass through every day when I go to school. However, I never actually go into the place to take a look at it before, and I have no idea what it does. I’d like to take this chance to discover this mysterious land I used to neglect on my way to school.

In front of me is a series of the conveyor belts once I get in. The staff explained to me that the belt is used for flower delivery, and then she showed me the way to go into the auction room. There are three large auction clocks and several seats for the underwriters to sit in in front of us. We sat down on the unused underwriter seat and listened very carefully to the staff as she introduced the history of the flower wholesale market in Tianwei Township to us. The market was first founded in April, 1944. The first computer auction clock made in Taiwan was launched in December that year. The purchase volume each day was amazing. There were about 2,000 items purchased in each day including all kinds of flowers like the Kogiku, flamingo flower, and Oriental lily.

The auction started at 4pm each day, and the flowers were sold out very fast. Once the bidding started, it took only 3 seconds to make a deal. What’s most surprisingly is that if the flowers were not sold out, they would be destroyed right away. The florist’s months of hard-work would go down the drain. It’s quite sad to hear that so the staffs told us that experienced florists would normally share that risk together.

Today, we are going to visit the real auction at the scene. There are 3 conveyor belts working at the same time. The underwriters concentrate on the auction clocks to decide when is the most appropriate time to press the button so as to get the flowers they want. They do so to avoid buying flowers at a higher price. When it’s time to end the auction, the staff showed us the way to the disposal area. We found that most of the disposed plants are the leaves. Only a few flowers were disposed. Yet, we still found some lilies and roses being discarded. It’s such a pity. I think I came to know more about Tianwei on this trip to visit the flower wholesale market with such a precious experience!
 

 

 

The weather was very cool this Sunday on Nov. 1. At 3pm, Our teacher took us to visit the Changhua flower wholesale market in Tianwei Township. Once we arrived at the destination, the staffs showed us the way in and did a presentation in front of us. They used three computer clocks to benefit the florists based on the auction principal to offer a fair, just, and open market transaction for all.

After the presentation, they showed us the way in to take a look at the surroundings. I saw plenty of boxes with flowers were ready to be put on the conveyor belt for an auction. It was so amazing. I never thought there would be so many flowers sold out each day. I heard the staffs said that each kind of flower has to follow the limited offer for sales. For example, one bouquet should cover a certain amount of stems, and each box should cover several bouquets of flowers. Take the lily as an example. Each bouquet of lily should have 10 stems, and each box should contain 10 bouquets of lilies. The bidding price is based on one bouquet of flowers. Yet, if the underwriter wishes to purchase, he or she must buy at least one box of flowers. We’ve saw many underwriters who drove their trucks into the place and stopped the car at their own parking space. After the seats were filled, it’s time to call for bids. We hurried to find our seats and watched the auction on-site to see how it is operated. The auction began at 4:00pm. The 3-line auction clocks started to run the bidding all at once. People started to inspect goods, display goods, call for bids, place a bid, and settle for a bid. All I heard is endless raising voice via a microphone. I saw the underwriter pressed down the button very fast. And then several boxes of flowers were sold out in batches. It was incredible and that was so amazing! I learned a lot from today’s site tour. That was indeed a full harvest.

We visited a landscaping designer first this Sunday on Nov. 15th. He is more than just a landscaping designer. He even runs a farm bar, and a band called “Men’s Band”. That’s awesome! He told us that he does more than just horticulture for his landscaping design. He can also do the event landscaping. Yet, the event landscaping should have plenty of limitations to consider due to its exhibition term. Therefore, if the work engineering, there won’t be much follow-up issue. As for the horticulture, it may have something to do with more issues since the flowers or turfs need to be taken good care of. Besides, the garden design and planning are equally important. Since some trees are so heavy, the underwriter may need a hire tow truck to deliver the trees. The work process should be all set in advance so that it won’t affect the process of other works. We learned a lot from these bosses, and these are the know-how we cannot learn from textbooks. I did learn a lot from them.

 

 

 

 

Our next stop is to visit the boss who owns the tow truck shop. The boss was very kind and he even showed us how to pick up trees with a tow truck. Each tow truck is so huge! I do admire them because they can drive a tow truck to anywhere they want, and they can smoothly handle the truck at ease. The boss also told us that each tow truck costs around NT$4-5 millions. It will cost $NT9, 000-15,000 per shipment each time. Since the trees used for landscaping are all heavy, most of the time, they will need to use a tow truck to help them pick up the trees. Therefore, if they want to make some money, they need to invest a lot of money first!

Next, we went to borrow a quadruplet bike according to our schedule. We rode on the bike, and crossed the country road in Tianwei to appreciate all kinds of flowers, turfs, and trees. We bumped into the uncle who was about to apply fertilizer to the “Mascarene grass”. The uncle was very passionate that he tried to show us the way to take care of the grass. We learned how long it takes to apply the fertilizer, how long it takes to water the grass, and how long it may take to harvest. Along the way, we also saw there are all kinds of Barberton Daisy inside the greenhouse. We also saw plenty of flower beds, and tree nursery. And we can tell that there are many people who make a living by growing flowers in Tianwei.

We rode on the bike and went back on the street. On both sides of the road, there are plenty of flower shops, which have attracted endless visitors to stop by. There are all kinds of flowering plants, and tree nursery, which make people dazzle by the variety of choices. It does deserve such fame as the “Roadside Garden”. Whatever you want, you can always come and buy something you want from here. I came to know more about the beauty of the “Roadside Garden” after today’s trip to Tianwei. It’s more than just a pleasure to see those flowers and plants. It’s a hearty feast to touch me deeply.
 

 

 

We visited the flower auction market this afternoon. It’s my first time to visit the flower auction. I thought this was quite new to me. I thought this place only sells flowers. Yet, I happened to see big leaves like those leaves grow on a betel nut tree. Those leaves are also available in the market. Each leaf looks so fresh and green!

In the very beginning, there was a female factory worker who came to show us around the field. I came to know that all flower transactions are now made in an automated environment. Besides, only those flower merchants who have done some business with the florists are allowed to enter into the auction area. We are so lucky to have this chance to visit the place. Next, she showed us around to visit their market. It was about time to run an auction. I saw many people standing in front of a particular spot to wait until their payment is completed. Then I understood that they were paying their last day purchase. The worker said if an underwriter did not pay off his or her bill more than 3 times, he or she will not be allowed to enter into the auction the next time.

After we went through some of the equipment, this female factory work showed us the way to the audience seat to see how the flower merchants make a deal. When the florists deliver their flowers to the auction market, the factory workers will run through a test to examine these flowers before packing up the flowers to the next stop. By then, the workers will hold them up for public display. If no one places a bid within the said time, the flowers would need to be discarded. I think it’s such a pity! In fact, it’s hardly possible to hear the auctioneer’s voice at the scene since the flower merchants were in chaos during the auction. Therefore, most of the flower merchants select the flowers based on the brand. Since most flower merchants do have a clue, they know what to buy so the deal was made very fast. The female factory worker told us that normally it takes about 3 seconds to make a deal for one piece of good. It does not take a lot of time to make the deal so the flower merchants will have to move fast on each deal they made. If they couldn’t make their decision fast, they won’t be able to get the products they want. It never occurs to me that even the flower business should have no time to lose! I broaden my horizon after visiting the flower market today. I came to know how the business works. Now I know all flowers should be processed carefully in the auction market before being delivered to the flower shops. That’s how the flowers were delivered to everyone’s home. Thanks to such a market system. It can not only speed up the circulation for flower delivery, but also allows the florists to travel among different places to sell the flowers within shorter period of time. The flower auction market is so important and very interesting to look at for a survey!

Our Cyberfair members gathered in front of the “Serenity Garden” in the afternoon on Nov. 15th. We were ready to do an interview with the shop and horticulture, and visit the boss who owns the crane. First of all, we went to pick up the route map at the “visitor center”. Next, we went to visit the boss who specializes in the horticulture. They mainly produce the horticulture to do the business. These bosses all try to cooperate with the owner to see what the owner really needs so they know how to offer him the supplies he needs. The boss often does the event landscaping work to decorate the show place or exhibition hall. Since this kind of event requires a shorter exhibition time, it can help them make more profit. Yet, this kind of landscaping work is too labor-consuming. Less people choose to do this business now.

 

 

After lunch, everyone went back to the flower auction market in Tianwei. To fully understand what’s going on, we arrived at the flower market 1 hour before its opening time. There’s a tour guide who helped us to get familiar with the managerial process at the flower auction market.

After an hour of lecturing, I came to know what it means to run a flower auction. Although an auction was run by the computer right now, most of the deals were made by the manager with the top authority. The auction started at 4pm each day at the flower auction market in Tianwei. The seller will call out the flower name, and its amount or other basic information, and deliver them to the flower center. They buyer will run a bidding to purchase the flowers for sales at the highest bidding price. Once they made a deal, the buyer must pay the amount purchased. If the amount purchased is not paid off, the buyer will receive a warning. If the buyer has received a warning more than 3 times, he or she can no longer purchase flowers anymore. We spend an hour, trying to understand how they made a deal. In the very beginning, I just felt that there were so many voices around me. I had no idea what they were yelling at in the auction. Yet, I finally get to know how to buy the flowers, and how to buy the desired flowers faster. Yet, the price and needs should also be considered to avoid buying the expensive flowers. It can be unacceptable if the buyer tries to sell it to a third party. The flowers may not be able to sell out twice because of its expensive price, which is totally unacceptable. Meanwhile, I also get to know how to trade flowers and what are the rules one must know to trade flowers. Most of the buyers who came to the flower auction market are the flower merchants. They will sell the flowers they bought to the flower shop so they can make some money from the difference between the price they sell and the cost they buy. Now I know that we can actually come to the flower auction market in Tianwei to buy the flowers. It’s just that we don’t need so many flowers so far. Otherwise, I’d like to buy some flowers home. I felt so much replenished, and I learned a lot from this interview to gain much know-how knowledge.

 

 

In the afternoon, everyone gathered together at the designated place before we moved on to the visitor center in the Tianwei Roadside Garden. We collected the information we need from the center to help us get to know more about Tianwei and its local features. We can experience all kinds of colorful trees, turfs, and flowers inside the Roadside Garden. After we got ready for it, we headed out to do the interview!

First of all, we do the photo-shoot with the turfs. We asked the boss many questions and he told us that basically people choose to grow the Mascarene grass. The way they grow the grass is pretty simple. They only reserve the stem part to grow the turfs. As for how to fertilize the turfs, he said fertilizing the turfs once a week should be enough. Just keep in mind that you apply the No. 43 fertilizer to your turfs. You may also need to apply some pesticides to the turfs because there will be a problem of pests and diseases. That’s why you will need to destroy the pests with the pesticides. As for how to water the turf, all you have to do is to flood the field with water until the turf is all wet!

Speaking of the horticulture of landscaping, most of the design was made by the owner’s needs. Normally, the boss will use the 3D software, Auto Cud, to help him do the job. All plants and materials were made by him. That was so amazing. These materials and plants were normally used for doing the event landscaping or exhibition because such an event can cost more, which can make more profits for the boss. The boss also pointed out that he really likes the original work made by creativity. He likes to design his own creative work, which can help him stand out among his peers!

As for the machine, he uses a kind of crane to help him do the work. Normally, he will use the car can that weighs 3.5 tons or the tow truck that weighs 11.9 tons. Using this kind of vehicle can help him carry a big tree elevated to a height of 15-18 meters. The maximum weight of a big tree should be limited no more than 2.95 tons. There’s one more thing to be noted. How to do the construction work and get it done within a limited time? The boss will hire a larger tow truck or forklift truck to help him do it. This kind of large tow truck will cost about NT$ 4 million.

 

 

Once we arrived at the flower auction market in Tianwei Township, we figured out that there are only 5 organizations in Taiwan that share the same attributes of this type of farmers' association located in the place of origin. Most of the customers come from Taichung, Changhua, Yunlin, and Chiayi. Some customers even come from Hsinchu! The flower market was first founded in 1970. Its former name was [Flower Producer Cooperative LLC]. The cooperative was founded for fairness sake because the flower merchants and florists are often at loggerheads due to the conflict between them. All flowers must be packed up and measured first before the delivery. Besides, flower merchants or florists need to get the number before making a deal or trading. If they want to obtain the account number, they must go through a certain procedure and receive certification first before their application. Take the flower merchants for example. They need to come to the auction market at least 4 times a month, and they must prepare at least NT$200,000! This is how things work and they will be eligible for purchasing. The purchasing process is under control by the computer in full course. There are 3 machines work closely together at the time. If the deal was made fast, the market can sell 1,800 pieces of products per hour. Normally, the auctioneer will first describe the product and provide a quote using Taiwanese dialect. Yet, it’s hard to hear what the auctioneers were saying because three of them were talking at the same time. Therefore, experienced buyers will choose their favorite brand. That’s how they ensure they can buy the good products they need! We arrived at the Peasant Creative Context Landscaping Design Co. Ltd. located in Tianwei this afternoon. We asked the boss some questions about the horticulture.

When we got there, we saw plenty of horticulture landscaping and pieces of furniture made of wood. We sat on the most valuable wood art, and listened slowly to the boss to talk about the story of his horticulture. He told us how to purchase the plants, and how to put those things in a tiny small space.

Next, we arrived at the“GW” Cranes and took a look at their cranes. The boss told us the structure of some of the cranes they got, and taught us how to use the crane. For example, they imported their hanger rods from Korea, Japan, and some of the hanger rods were made in Taiwan. Besides, the normal hanger rods can be 15 or 18 meters long! To keep everyone safe, a security check must be run through every two years. However, once the crane was operated, the people should stand in a distance for their own safety even though the machine has been run through a security check. Next, we arrived at the paddy field along the road. Technically, it should be called a turf. The farmer was applying fertilizer to the turf and watering the turf as we arrived there. Actually, it’s quite simple to water the turf. All you have to do is to flood the field with water! Besides, I heard the farmer said 1 ping (35.59 sq. ft.) of turf can cost $NT200-250.

It’s such a pleasure to ride on the bike to hang around in the Tianwei Roadside Garden. Don’t forget to grab a free tourist map at the visitor center in the Serenity Garden if you are not so familiar with Tianwei!
 

 

 

 

It takes time to keep communicating with the customer if the owner wants to complete the horticulture work. Materials like flowers and trees used to make the horticulture were bought from a third party. They often use the 3D software to help they do the work. Speaking of the shipment and construction work, they will use an excavator, a roller, and all kinds of toolkits to help them get the job done. The reason why they use so many toolkits is because that there are less people who are willing to work for them. That’s why they need to buy so many machines to help them do the job. Mr. Hsieh told us that the price may differ based on the different needs proposed by the owner. One of their after-sales services includes taking care of the big trees after they finish the horticulture work.

There are countless types of cranes. Most of the hanger rods were imported from Japan and Korea. Some of them were made in Taiwan. Basically, the height to hang an object is 15 or 18 meters tall. The maximum weight is limited to 2.95 kg. When they found that the space is too small, they will try to find a way to bring in the trees they want. They will also check upon the hanger rod every two years to ensure its safety. Mr. Li even showed us how to operate a machine. He put the big Osmanthus tree on the crane, and picked it up with a crane. We saw how the hanger rod can move freely, and everyone was very surprised at what we saw. 

 

CYBERFAIR 2017