Spring is finally here! Besides the humid weather, the season usually introduces itself to Hong Kong with various blossoms in parks, hiking trails or on the side of the road. While the city is awaiting a lift on the quarantine policy, why don’t we take this opportunity to explore our rural surrounds and do some flower viewing while we’re at it? (note: some places we recommend below might be currently closed due to COVID restrictions)
Cherry blossoms flash across most people’s minds when it comes to flower viewing. Needless to say, that’s because of the famous sakura season that welcomes travelers from all over the world every spring. It is no surprise that the spring queen symbolizes renewal and the transience of life, tying closely into Buddhist themes of mindfulness, mortality, and living in the present. Dive into the pink sea and get some fresh air this weekend!
Best time to see cherry blossoms: January-April
Where to see in Hong Kong: Quarry Bay Promenade, Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden, Hong Kong Velodrome Park, Pavilion of Harmony of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Rotary Park in Tai Mo Shan Country Park, Tai Po Waterfront Park
Captivating with bright colors, kapoks are instantly recognizable on the streets. A fun fact about them is that Cotton Tree Drive, where Hong Kong’s most popular marriage registry sits, was actually named after the fire-like flowers. It is also believed that kapoks are the reincarnation of a Hlai hero, which is why kapoks are also known as the “tree of hero” in Chinese culture. With such rich historical context, it is no surprise why locals never seem to get bored of kapoks!
Best time to see kapoks: March-April
Where to see in Hong Kong: Hong Kong Park, Lei Yue Mun Park, Lung Cheung Road Park, Tai Hang Tung Recreation Ground, Kam Sheung Road
Native to eastern South America, Bougainvillea was first introduced to Europe in the 19th century, as Kew Garden distributed it to different British colonies throughout the world. Symbolizing passion and liveliness in the West, the inflorescence is wildly used in Chinese households to “deflect dangers”. Given its spiky appearance and toxic sap, the plant is believed to be able to protect the family against potential dangers according to Chinese Fengshui.
Best time to see Bougainvillea: March-April
Where to see in Hong Kong: Un Chau Estate, Hong Kong Park, Ma On Shan Park
Arriving in an array of pastel colors, the French hydrangea is many households’ favorite flower. With each individual blossom sitting tight to one another, it is self-explanatory why the inflorescence that symbolizes unity and togetherness is loved by families across the world. As its colors are directly affected by the soil’s acidity, French Hydrangea is also a natural pH indicator that appears blue when planted in acidic soil and turns pink sitting in alkaline soil.
Best time to see French Hydrangea: April-May
Where to see in Hong Kong: Hong Kong Park, Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens, Tai Po Waterfront Park
Also known as “Flame of the Forest”, Royal poinciana got its nickname in the older days when a sailor mistook an island filled with its hot red blossoms as an island on fire. In my opinion, it isn’t all wrong as we all know summer in Hong Kong can be quite intolerable, just like an island in flames. The tall tree is also associated with departures in local culture as it blossoms every May and June, when students leave school either for the next semester or for another country.
Best time to see Royal Poinciana: May-June
Where to see in Hong Kong: Kwong Fuk Bridge in Tai Po, Tuen Mun Park, Victoria Park
A city as hot and humid as Hong Kong makes a great home to trees native to South America such as the blue Jacaranda. The sub-tropical tree enriches the view in many Hong Kong neighborhoods every mid summer with pops of turbular-shaped flowers and the warm fragrance of sweet honey. Stop by when passing a Jacaranda tree and see if its flowers that symbolize wealth and wisdom drop on your head — it means good fortune!
Best time to see blue Jacaranda: April-June
Where to see in Hong Kong: Sha Tin Park, Tung Chung North Park, Victoria Park
Who would have expected a city as crowded as Hong Kong houses such great variety of botanical plants! Let us know which one is your favorite flower-viewing spot!