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Try growing fruit and vegies and help to green HK

Growing fruit and vegetables in Hong Kong's high-rise environment may seem an unlikely hobby, but think again.

A new gardening course offered by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) will turn you into a "green thumb" in no time at all.

Under the Community Garden Scheme's course, participants will learn how to grow ornamental plants, fruit and vegetables in urban parks and then take home the harvest.

"The scheme is meant to encourage the public to participate in greening activities at the community level and to adopt greening activities as part of daily life," a spokesman for the LCSD said.

"The scheme will be launched in phases at five parks or tree banks and then be extended to other districts in Hong Kong. We hope that residents who participate in gardening activities at their district parks will have their green consciousness enhanced and their community ties strengthened," he added.

The first four venues will be Lion Rock Park in Wong Tai Sin; the Tree Banks at Man Tung Road, Tung Chung; Wai Tsui Road, North Point; and the Fa Hui Park in Sham Shui Po.

The scheme will be launched at Lion Rock Park, which is located beside the Lion Rock Tunnel entrance and adjacent to Tin Ma Court, Wang Tau Hom and Upper Wong Tai Sin Estate.

The park's "Lion Rock Park Community Garden" covers an area of around 700 square metres, divided into 60 plots. Enrolment has started now. Both individuals and groups are welcome to participate.

An introductory Gardening Course with a maximum capacity of 50 students will be held at the community garden. Each successful applicant will be allocated a plot of 2.25 square metres on which to create their garden. Instructors will demonstrate the proper ways of cultivating ornamental plants, fruit and vegetables.

"The scheme is tailor-made for city-dwellers. The community gardens are in easy-to-reach locations. Students may choose the mode of participation that suits them most. They can take care of their plants from 8am to 6pm daily, or restrict their activities to holidays and weekends, letting the gardenkeepers look after the regular watering of plants."

Each plot can accommodate up to 50 flower or vegetables plants. As many as five people can take care of a plot. Each applicant is allowed to bring along four friends or relatives.

Since most of the plants take at least three months to mature, each course lasts four months. The fee for each course is $400.

Application forms are available at the Wong Tai Sin District Leisure Services Office, 4/F, Ngau Chi Wan Municipal Services Building, 11 Clear Water Bay Road, Kowloon. Completed forms must be submitted by February 18.

For enquiries, please call 2328 9262 or 2601-8974.

Ends/Saturday, February 7, 2004
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