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Third gardening course starts soon at North Point

The success of two previous gardening courses has prompted the Leisure and Cultural Services Department to launch a third course for Hong Kong's amateur gardeners.

The new course, under the Community Garden Scheme, will start at the North Point Community Garden inside the Wai Tsui Crescent Tree Bank at Wai Tsui Crescent, Braemar Hill, North Point, on June 27. Enrolments for the course start today (May 24) and run until May 29.

The first two courses, launched at Lion Rock Park and Tung Chung Community Gardens, were well received by the public and a department spokesman said it was a great opportunity for city-dwellers to get closer to nature and learn more about horticultural skills.

"It also helps improve communication between individuals and between parents and their children. We tend to be more relaxed and frank with each other when we are watering and fertilising veggies or fruits," he added.

"Harvest time is the most exciting moment for the participants. Looking at the veggie seedlings turning green and lush, they feel their efforts in the past few months truly worthy and really proud of themselves."

The scheme encourages people to participate in greening activities at the community level and to take part in greening activities as part of daily life.

Participants learn how to grow ornamental plants, fruit and vegetables in urban parks and then take home the harvest. The courses are conducted in Cantonese.

The spokesman said the scheme was being launched in phases at five parks or tree banks and would 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 next course site will be inside the Fa Hui Park in Sham Shui Po.

The North Point Community Garden is located at the Braemar Hill area with many schools nearby, and adjacent to Braemar Hill Mansion. This community garden covers an area of around 1,400 square metres, divided into 50 plots.

The gardening course, with a maximum 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 practise gardening. They can bring along four friends or relatives, who do not have to pay the course fee.

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

Each plot can accommodate up to 50 flower or vegetable plants. 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 Eastern District Leisure Services Office, 3/F Quarry Bay Municipal Services Building, 38 Quarry Bay Street, Hong Kong. Completed forms must be submitted by May 29. If the number of applicants exceeds the course's quota, places will be allocated by ballot.

For enquiries, please call 2564 2264.

Ends/Monday, May 24, 2004
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