I just love fresh flowers.
So it’s hardly surprising that one of my favorite venues in Hong Kong is the Chinese New Year flower market in Victoria Park.
I first negotiated my way through the crowds at this popular market some 16 years ago. Pussy willows, “five generation fruit” stalks (which look like cow udders), and mini kumquat trees are some of my favorites.
In fact, during that first visit to the New Year market, I bought a little kumquat tree that stayed fresh and fragrant until I left Hong Kong for a week to meet my future in-laws out in the freezing Hubei plains. The poor little tree shed its leaves and the fruit fell off after I returned a week later.
Chinese New Year isn’t the only time you can buy beautiful fresh flowers in Hong Kong. In Kowloon there’s a year-round flower market on Prince Edward Road West. It’s been around for more than 100 years, even when the New Territories was still part of China.
I believe this photo shows another flower market, one which was located on Hong Kong Island.
But the present-day flower market on Prince Edward doesn’t look too different from this photo (apart from the colonials sporting light linens and pith helmets, as well as the locals dressed in coolie outfits and adorning queues).
Sadly, the Victoria Park market has become more of a plastic paradise than a fresh flower haven in recent years. I’m talking inflatable toys, metallic Hello Kitty balloons, and elaborate pinwheels.