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Celebrate Harvest Day at urban parks

The more ploughing and weeding, the better the crops.

Participants of the first gardening course under the Community Garden Scheme celebrated their harvest day after four-month's hard work today (June 27) at the Lion Rock Park Community Garden in Wong Tai Sin.

Speaking at the prize presentation ceremony of the Harvest Competition of the scheme, the Secretary for Home Affairs, Dr Patrick Ho, said: " I was here to launch the gardening course in early February. I am so happy to see the then vacant land has turned into a fruitful one today."

He pointed out that the scheme was meant to encourage the public to adopt greening activities as part of daily life, to foster their environmental consciousness and to rally community support for greening.

Dr Ho believed that the simple and meaningful competition would encourage the participants and arouse the interests of others in greening activities. He also hoped that the Lion Rock Park Community Garden would become a model for the community gardens to be launched in other districts in the near future.

The competition consists of three awards. They are Best Harvest Award, Best Planting Garden Award and Outstanding Planting Plot Award. Fifty plots of the Lion Rock Park Community Garden Scheme participated in the competition. Many plots have turned into fruitful gardens with lovely decorations. Looking at the harvests, the students all felt very proud of themselves.

The Community Garden Scheme, launched early this year by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), provides appropriate facilities in Hong Kong, Kowloon and the New Territories and qualified lecturers for participants to practise gardening. The scheme is being launched in phases in five parks or tree banks and will be extended to other districts to encourage public participation in planting activities in parks nearby as well as to enhance their green consciousness and strengthen community ties.

Under the scheme, the first two introductory gardening courses have been launched in the Lion Rock Park Community Garden and the Tung Chung Tree Bank at Man Tung Road in February and April respectively. The third course has started today at the Tree Bank at Wai Tsui Road in North Point. Fa Hui Park in Sham Shui Po will hold the fourth one in August.

The public can enrol as individuals or groups. Each course accepts a maximum of 50 students and lasts four months. The course fee is $400. Each successful applicant will be allocated a plot of 2.25 square metres to create their garden. Instructors will demonstrate the proper ways of cultivating ornamental plants, fruit and vegetables.

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, leaving the regular watering of plants to the garden-keepers.

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

Other officiating guests of today's prize presentation ceremony included the Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Ms Anissa Wong, and the Chairman of the Wong Tai Sin District Council, Mr Wong Kam-chi.

Ends/Sunday, June 27, 2004
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