Tuesday, 4 December 2012

More from Hong Kong

Organic vegetable production, Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Gardens
 My first full day in Hong Kong was largely spent at Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden, set in a valley on the northern slope of Hong Kong's highest peak, Tai Mo Shan (957 m), in the Northern Territories. Coming out of the frenetic cityscape of Kowloon, the hilly Northern Territories seems remarkably rural and it was to encourage Hong Kong agriculture that the Kadoorie farm was originally set-up in 1956 (see their website for more information). There is still a great emphasis on demonstrating sustainable,organic farming practices, with much of the lower part of the place being devoted to this. There are also enclosures of various animals for rehabilitation after injury, or confiscated by Customs, which are rather interesting. The terrain is quite steep, but my friend and chauffeur, Douglas Fok, got permission to take his car in and we were able to drive to the highest point, from which I walked down through various sections of the garden. The upper parts are forested, but it was difficult to tell what was native and what alien, though Chrysanthemum indicum and Camellia kissii are native. There are interesting collections of (native) orchids and ferns on the way down, and more and more ornamentals appear as one descends. It's certainly not a conventional botanic garden, but they do great educational work: it was a very pleasant place to visit.

Clerodendron wallichii is used for hedges at Kadoorie.

The forested areas in the valley are full of ferns, including large epiphytic Asplenium nidus. Troops of wild macaques are also present.

Camellia kissii forms dense bushes in the scrub at the top of the slope. Flowers are about 2.5 cm across, and faintly scented.

Lush tropical foliage in Kowloon Park.

It was interesting to see quite a decent specimen of Swietenia mahagoni in Hong Kong Park. As its name suggests, this is the source of mahogany timber.

Durians, the great Asian delicacy, in the market; externally stinking but delicious inside.

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