Tag Archives: gardens

Hong Kong Flower Show 2011: It’s all coming up roses (and tulips… and orchids…)

Forget the Botanical Gardens. Forget the overpriced, increasingly tat-filled Chinese New Year Flower Market. Forget the Chelsea Flower Show. Because for technicolour horticultural goodness, the Hong Kong Flower Show 2011 beats them all. (Well, it beats watching Chelsea on television anyhow).

The Hong Kong Flower Show is apparently an annual event held in Victoria Park that my auntie only piped up about this year, my third in HK. Thanks a lot! Oh well, at least she piped up eventually, as this was a sight I’m definitely glad I didn’t miss out on.

I love flowers – I love them even more when I don’t have to put in the hard work of maintaining them – so the Flower Show was absolutely perfect for those who want to feast on the visual delights of plants in all colours, shapes and sizes without getting your green fingers dirty! As someone who quite often misses her garden in the UK, this happily quelled any longings in some serious style!

For just $14 entry, you can wander around the countless show gardens, exhibits, displays and gardening stalls that take over the entire grounds to your heart’s content. It’s also free for the over 60s on weekdays; my auntie wasn’t sure whether she should be happy she saved money or upset that she looked old enough for no-one to check her ID!

This year’s theme was Symphony of Spring Flowers, hence all the floral pianos, harps and music notes you see scattered around – a bit cheesy in places, but generally too beautiful and immaculately-executed for you to care. There were also special displays by some of HK’s botanical societies (the orchid ones are always amazing enough to warrant a gander) whilst there were also some more modern, edgy and striking displays to cut through the cutesiness of the giant instrument-playing animals (oh who am I kidding, they were my favourite part!).

I also loved the numerous stalls selling plants and gardening supplies; if you can get past the crowds who mill around treating these as further photo opportunities, there are some really reasonable deals to be had on stuff that can be more difficult to unearth in HK. I bought a fuchsia for $30 and two violas for $10 each (and would have bought many more if I didn’t have to think about carrying it all home), whilst many orchids were only around $100. Basically, screw you CNY Flower Market, I’ll never be buying your overpriced tat again!

Anyway, enough of my rambling, I think the photos are gorgeous enough to speak for themselves. So fire up your monitor, click for enlargements so huge you can practically smell them and enjoy!

My favourite photo, taken at one of the show displays

How cute are the baby chicks?!

Ocean Park Garden

Love the creativity of these two, designed to look like music staves

Some of the more contemporary displays

Macau Garden

I think these ghostly pianos look like they were made from a skeleton’s bones!

Just can’t resist me some orchids!

Some of the more structural displays – note the number of OAPS enjoying a sit-down in the branch dome!

Mini gardens! Love the hydrangea tree and the cute little chicks and bunnies made from flowers!

After all that, I think we need a rest…

Hong Kong Flower Show 2011, Victoria Park, Causeway Bay, 11-20 March 2011. $14 entry fee, free for over-60s on weekdays ($7 on weekends). See their website for further details.


Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens: Green there, done that

It’s a nice day, you’re unemployed and at a loose end. What to do that’s cheap, interesting and actually involves leaving the house? How about a trip to Hong Kong’s Zoological and Botanical Gardens?

Admittedly, now probably isn’t the best time of year to visit as most of the 1000 plus species of plants are no longer flowering. Yet given it was an absolutely beautiful summer’s day and I wasn’t sure if we’d be having any more of those this year, my boyfriend and I decided to make the trip to Central and have a calm and gentle stroll around.

Trek not helped by The Stairs To Nowhere. HK Planning Department Fail.

Of course, we forgot that beautiful summer’s day = getting hot and sweaty. Especially as it’s a bit of a trek to get there, much of it uphill, and one problem of an open-air park is that there isn’t a blast of cool air-conditioning to welcome you there! (I still think the LCSD is missing a trick by not making its museums and parks have proper restaurants and cafes. It’s something many places in England have done, making them destinations in their own right. But most places I’ve visited in HK make do with an amateur-run eaterie, akin to the school cafeteria, with plastic chairs, dishing up instant noodles – and that’s on a good day! HKZBG was no exception, sporting a few fast food kiosks. Given the number of young families and yummy mummies visiting, I think a beautiful café could make a killing here). However, it’s still a lovely place, especially since this spot of lush verdant greenery is nestled right in the heart of Central’s towering skyscrapers.

The Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens is one of the oldest of its kind around the world, with construction starting in 1860, opening to the public in 1864. The pagoda inside is the oldest structure in the garden and there are a few other historical statues, like a bronze one of King George erected to commemorate the 100th anniversary of British colonial rule in HK and a memorial arch as you walk in dedicated to British and Chinese soldiers who died in the war. I was also surprised by how many animals there were, an eclectic bunch of simians, reptiles and around 400 exotically-plumaged birds.

But I was here because I missed green stuff. I missed plants. I missed grass. I missed trees and shrubs and my garden. I missed walking around in green spaces, breathing in fresh air and being a bit removed from the rumble of pollution and the smog of concrete. So most of my pictures are of that. Enjoy. (As ever, click to enlarge). And yes, I will be going back in Spring.

This plant was called mother-in-law’s tongue! *Insert mother-in-law joke here*

Some form of Heliconia, also known as ‘false bird-of-paradise’. You can see why! Birds-of-paradise were always my favourite house plant in Sims!

Another hibiscus – not HK’s national flower, but it might as well be.

I want to call these catkins. They might not be but whatever, it still reminded me of my Flower Fairies books.

The Education and Exhibition Centre currently houses a display of orchids. Most were fairly standard (or as standard as orchids ever can be!), like those at CWB’s Flower Market but these were unusually beautiful.

I thought these tree roots were amazing – like a labyrinth or a witch’s hand! Better than any modern art sculpture!

Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens, Albany Road, Central, 2530 0154. Free admission. Fountain Terrace Garden (the fountain was closed when I visited!), open 6am to 10pm. Green House and Exhibition Centre, 6am-4pm. All other areas, 6am-7pm.

Get a bus or get the MTR to Pacific Place, Admiralty. Go up the escalators at the side by Grappas and Lane Crawford to Hong Kong Park and follow the signs to the HK Zoological and Botanical Gardens.