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40th Anniversary, CUHK
Flower talks
 
Hong Kong Vegetation 160 years ago (cont'd - page 4)
 
Hong Kong 1820 (picture from AllPosters.com)

To the vallies then is nearly restricted all the cultivation of the island. The selection is usually made where these terminate on the coast, the sides of the vallies here expanding, and the supply of water for irrigation being more abundant and regular. Still, the surface requires some artificial levelling, and the peasantry often distribute it into a series of broad terraces, from one to two feet above each other, and which, from a distance, resemble gigantic staircases. Great neatness is conspicuous in their formation; sometimes the sides are faced with stonework, though an earthy barrier usually suffices, and the outline is formed with much regularity. A healthy supply of water from the neighbouring stream is admitted by suitable channels, according to the necessities of the growing crop, and sometimes women pour water over the plants, individually, from large buckets of bamboo with long spouts. This they often practice in the middle of the day, when the sun is at its highest. The staple production of these terraces is the sweet potato, but yams and cocoes [cocos] are also cultivated; turneps [turnips] are evidently favourites, and it is rare to see an establishment without a corner devoted to a bed of onions. A few other vegetables may occasionally be met with. Fruits are apparently considered unworthy of the close attention of this thrifty population, and they are rarely to be seen; the Chinese have a bad opinion of trees in the vicinity of cultivation, and do not regard the fruit they yield as a sufficient compensation for their hurtful influence.

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