Hong Kong is Pearl of the Orient and Fragrant Harbor to old-timers but it will have a fresh ring to it from the younger generation — land of the cherry blossom.
It will all begin with 3,000 cherry trees to be planted in some parts of the New Territories, Ming Pao Daily reported Wednesday, citing a HK$350 million (US$45.15 million) government master plan.
In three years, Hong Kong can expect its first cherry blossom in Sha Tin, Sai Kung, Tuen Mun and Yuen Long — the first four districts that are piloting the project under the Civil Engineering and Development Department.
The groundwork has been in progress since December and is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.
Chief engineer Gabriel Woo said different species of cherry trees will be experimentally grown at random in Tai Po Road.
The selected species are mainly suitable for warmer climate such as the Taiwan cherry. Other species will be selected for their adaptability to higher, shady terrain, he said.
The second phase of the project may include Cheung Chau.
Professor Jim Chi-yung of the University of Hong Kong said the government should reconsider the planned location, saying cherry trees are better planted in places with fresh air, good drainage and rich soil.
Roadsides are not ideal, let alone Cheung Chau which has salty soil.
He said the government should plant a small number of cherry trees as an experiment rather cultivate the plant on a large scale in the first phase, he said.
If the plan blossoms — and the trees live up to expectations — Hong Kong could have another tourist attraction.
Think of Japan in a little corner of the New Territories.
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