The Pond of Flower Field and the Red Brick Bridge
Divided by a concrete pathway, an usual spot where people stop and enjoy this picturesque view, the pond is partially separated into two distinguished areas of their own, which are both located in proximity and accessible to the Ng Tung River. Connected between these two areas is the red brick bridge, a structure designed to keep a balanced water level on both sides of the pond. It is made consisting of bricks imprinted with the alphabets “KCR”, denoting the probable existence of the brickwork mentioned hereafter. In fact, these fragmented historical remnants are still found across different areas of Fu Tei Au Tsuen.
Records of use of the pond can be traced back to the early 20th century. According to old newspaper clippings and oral history interviews conducted with villagers, the pond’s formation was a result of extracting quality mud and clay by a brick company whose labourers established their excavation and manufacturing site at Fu Tei Au, in order to provide bricks for the Kowloon-Canton Railway. After the brickwork was shut down, these man-made depressions on the earth’s surfaces eventually evolved to become a natural reserve for rain water and a buffer zone adjacent to the flood-prone Ng Tung River for when water overflows. During the ‘70s and ‘80s, some villagers managed to cultivate fish farms using these areas until the contamination of the water bodies nearby became an insurmountable problem for proper aquaculture. Nowadays, the ponds are mostly left unattended and dominated by water hyacinths, attracting flower-lovers and interested visitors from around the city to make their pilgrimage here during the bloom period of Spring through Summer (approx. May to October). It bears flowers with flamboyant lavender-blue colour, creating a spectacular sea of flowers.
Do you know?
Water hyacinth, (Eichhornia crassipes (Mart.) Solms) goes by many names in Chinese because of its physical features and usage. This perennial plant can be identified by its erected stalk and special air bladder that maintains its free-floating structure. The utilization of water hyacinth as fodder for livestock has been widely documented across different cultural practices given its high protein concentration. Numerous researches have also suggested that water hyacinth has great potential in removing water pollutants. It can survive and grow in harsh environment such as wastewater, thus a promising aquatic plant that makes natural water purification treatment viable. However, the plant’s high resilience and fast growing feature has made itself a notorious invasive species among many countries. It can form a dense vegetative layer over water that blocks sunlight from reaching under water, and may also depletes the amount of oxygen in the water, making it hard to survive for other aquatic organisms.