THE CLUMSY GARDENER | Moving mulberries

THE CLUMSY GARDENER | Moving mulberries


Migrating mulberry trees and germinating durian seeds, all that and more on this episode of the Clumsy Gardener. Hey folks, welcome back. So to my left here are a couple of mulberry trees that I started from cuttings, oh, two, two and a half years ago? They’ve been great, they’ve done well, but they’ve really kind of maxed out their potential in these containers and we really don’t have more space for them to grow. I’ve spoken with a fellow gardener, and they have some ground space and they’ve offered to take these two. I’ve also germinated a couple of durian seeds yes, I eat durian and so those are going to come with us. Alex has also said yeah, kind of curious to see what they’re going to do. So, we’re going to bring them over there as well. We’re meeting fellow gardener Alex Lau at his home in his ancestral village. Many indigenous villages exist throughout the New Territories in Hong Kong. And though skyscrapers may rule the scenic city skyline, there’s much to explore as they say, “out in the sticks”, and on the ground. Can we manage to pass? There’s Alex right there! Hey dude! After carrying the mulberries up the road, Alex shows me the spots he’s prepared for the trees. OK! So let’s talk about spacing. He’s already dug both holes, so they just need to be dropped in, topped up with soil, and mulched. Stop being lazy and get some more mulch. You lazy? I’m the one who’s watching you do all the work! As the sun sets, we go around a little bit to see what other kinds of fruit trees are here in this village. Tell me a bit about the village. The village? Oh well, it’s an old village. Uh, there used to be farmland around the place and there are still a few trees dotted around. We had a garden in England, but everything I grew used to taste sour. Maybe it was the rain, maybe it was the lack of sunshine. So coming over from England, coming over to this village, my ancestral village, yes I’ve started trying to grow things. What’s that, sorry? Custard apple. You see the fruit? They’ve got the custard apple, almost ripe. So how does the fruit get shared? I’m sure some trees belong to some families, but how does it kind of work? It’s mostly one main family here, so um, yeah it all belongs to the village So we just share it out amongst everyone really. I do have a heritage of gardening My parents used to look after land and farm the land, as did my grandparents. So you’ll see the remnants of fruit trees around, dotted around the village. There’s papaya, there’s pomelo, there’s a loquat tree in the middle of the carpark over there, yeah we get bananas and everything, so that’s pretty good. This right here? Mmhmm! Ahh.Lau Man… Ka SiI don’t know, I can’t read Chinese! It’s actually Lau Si Ka Chi The Lau family shrine, which sits at the center of the village where Alex returned to more than a decade ago. I started trying to grow things like, I planted a pineapple. I wasn’t expecting much ‘cause all the villagers said, “Ah you’re not going to get anything, it’s going to take a long time,” and yeah, “there’s no point, there’s not much space to plant it.” So I planted it, watched it grow, and after a few years a pineapple appeared. Watched it grow bigger. Watched it turn from green to yellow, and then harvested it in the sunshine “This is going to taste as sour as everything else I grow,” but I cut it open and it was warm, it smelled really sweet and taste – aw, tasted like sunshine, it was so sweet, really good. As the shadow of the mountains in Ma On Shan continue to elongate we wrap up with planting the germinated durian seeds, which I started by leaving them in a shallow dish of water with about 1/3 of the seed submerged. This is the result after a couple of weeks And then, now they’re clearly you can see the roots, they’re searching. So, voila, here we go. Ok so I guess… Do the honor… It’s been fun exploring Hong Kong’s farming heritage, and finding a new home for the mulberries. I hope that around March or April, they’ll bear abundant fruit that, in the village tradition, will be shared with all those that live in this slice of rural tranquility. Thanks for taking me around, showing me your village. No problem, it’s been an absolute pleasure. Thank you very much for coming. My pleasure man. Thank you everyone! Bye!

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