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...

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


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