According to the World Happiness Report published by the United Nations recently, Hong Kong's happiness index continued to fall from 72 in 2015 to 75 in 2016, followed by Somalia, the African country that is suffering from internal conflicts.
In fact, our feel of happiness can change with our surrounding. If you slow down and look around, you will find that there are many flowers and trees newly planted in the city. Getting close to the plants not only eases your worries, it is also good for our health.
In recent years, many new species of plants with different colors emerged in the urban areas, bringing vitality to the city. According to the government figures, from 2011 to 2015, there were about 3.49 million trees planted with over 260,000 trees in the urban areas.
At the same time, the government began to select the species carefully in view of experience in keeping aging plants and accidents caused by the collapse of trees. Currently, the principle is “right species at the right place”, that is, planting suitable species according to the soil, weather and location of the sites, to form a variety of local species gradually. By doing so, we can see that there are different species flourishing in different locations and seasons.
In the past, people used to travel overseas in order to appreciate cherry blossom. In recent years, there is a growing trend for us to go to Tai Lam Country Park in Tai Tong, Yuen Long in winter to see the red leaves, and to Tsing Yi Park to enjoy the beautiful scenery of red maple trees across the lake. When it is getting warmer, we can go to Quarry Bay Park and Tseung Kwan O Cycling Park for the flourishing cherry blossom. In March and April, the road to Shek Kong Barracks will be lined with overwhelming kapok flowers. What’s more, in every spring, the florists present a flower exhibition in Victoria Park, Causeway Bay. The exhibition has been attracting many shutterbugs. They uploaded their photos to social media websites and, as a result, generate trending.
The local weather and soil also engender a wide variety of flowering plants with many species of flower flourishing in summer. Flamboyant continues its red blossom from spring to early summer. In July 2016, there was a row of dragon boat flowers in Qing King Road, Tsing Yi. The flowers added substantial color to the monotonous road.
Queen Crape Myrtle, at the same time, fills the summer with pink-purple flowers that continue into autumn each year. Its green leaves turn into orange-red and then drop off in winter. It virtually changes clothes in four seasons! Since the cost of each tree is only half of the Hong Kong Orchid Tree, Queen Crape Myrtle has become the new generation of city flower with extensive cultivation since 2003.
According to the 8-year study conducted by the Harvard University targeting 100,000 women in the United States, the mortality rate of people living in green areas, especially women, is 12% lower than those living in sparsely greenery areas. They suffer less respiratory diseases, have better mental state, and have lower cases of depression.
Therefore, put aside your worries, look around and get closer to the beautiful and balmy flowers and trees. You will easily catch the happiness, at least for a while!
Photo credits: Conservation E3 Foundation