Wednesday, 1 February 2017

jeepers creepers

I always enjoy the festivities that accompany Chinese New Year—firecrackers, dancing lions, special food items such as turnip cake—but there is one feature of the season that I look forward to each year that is entirely coincidental yet perfectly appropriate. This is the time of year when a particular creeper bursts into flower—and when discussing the firecracker vine, ‘bursts’ is not a hyperbolic descriptor.

See for yourself. I’ve included typical examples below that I’ve photographed in the last week or so during my cycling trips around the New Territories. I encountered the first two examples on the ride I call ‘the final frontier’ the weekend before last. The second example can be seen opposite the entrance to ‘the zoological garden’.

I could not have failed to notice either of the above examples, but last Sunday I was on the same ride when I happened to glance to my right just as I passed an inconspicuous alleyway:

I took the following photo along the frontier road last week. The display was only just visible through a gap in the otherwise thick foliage. I couldn’t get any closer.

Last Friday, I took Paula to check out a challenging ride that I’d discovered a few weeks previously. I photographed this splendid example at the start of ‘surprise view’:

I encountered the next two examples on Monday while exploring new possibilities that I could add to the long and winding road:

Also on Monday, my explorations meant that I eventually returned to Fanling via a new narrow path that brought me back into town in an area west of the railway with which I was not familiar. Consequently, I found considerable difficulty in navigating the maze of cycling tracks, until I finally reached somewhere I recognized—the Tsz Tak Study Hall, which I walk past on the long way home. However, there are parts of the long way home that are not suitable for bikes, so I was forced to take an even more circuitous route that led me through the area featured in South Side Story, where I took the following photo:

I’ve cheated with the final photo, which is of my neighbour’s firecracker vine. This photo was taken five years ago, but he has since subjected his vine to what I can only describe as ‘injudicious pruning’, and the display has been poor for the last couple of years.

After I’d posted these images, a few days later I was approaching the switchback on ‘the final frontier’ when I spotted the firecracker vine in the next photo in a quasi-industrial depot. It may not be the most spectacular of images, but I thought that the juxtaposition against the articulated wagon was quite striking:

…while this specimen alongside the main cycle track north of Shatin had clearly faded somewhat by the time I passed by:


  1. The firecracker vine makes me feel energized all the time while they are blooming...

    1. …a delightful source of visual energy!

  2. Easy to see why it's called the Firecracker Vine. It's gorgeous.


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