Gardening angel

The centre has attracted people from all walks of life, including gardening enthusiasts who want to know more about the therapy, elderly people referred by community care centres and youngsters who have learned but the centre from their friends or school social workers.

Though Ms Fung enjoys her job very much, promoting the therapy in Hong Kong is not easy. She is the only staff in the centre, meaning she has to do everything, including cleaning, by herself. And many people remain sceptical about the effectiveness of the therapy.

The therapist said it was ¡§normal¡¨ for people to remain doubtful since the concept of horticulture treatment was still new to Hong Kong . ¡§It will be better if there are more
local researches on the therapeutic effect of gardening activities,¡¨ she said, adding more social support was needed to achieve that.

But Ms Fung said it was encouraging to see an increasing public acceptance of the idea of horticulture therapy with more people attending her classes. She sometimes also received phone calls from people who want to learn about horticultural therapy. ¡§They have given me some encouragement and it makes me feel that my effort on horticulture therapy is not useless,¡¨ she said.

However, the former social worker said she would not have started her new career without the support of her family.

¡§My husband always helps me move heavy things around in the centre. The website of horticultural centre was also set up by him,¡¨ she said with a smile.

Family is always her first priority and she will not neglect her family because of her work, she said.

She has chosen to set up the horticulture centre somewhere close to her home in Tsuen Wan so that she can still go home for meals even when she is very busy. She also suspended her work for a month in August to accompany her 16-year-old daughter to start school in Canada .

With a good family life and a promising career, Ms Fung said she was satisfied with her life.

However, she still daydreams that she will one day have an enormous place for gardening, just like the ¡§peach blossom Shangri-la¡¨ written in the famous ancient Chinese article by Tao Yuanming. In the middle of her dreamland, there would be a house where she could conduct training courses on horticultural therapy.

¡§When I am old, I can go to that ¡¥peach blossom Shangri-la¡¦ with my husband and work as farmers. Our lives will be self-sufficient,¡¨ said the beaming Ms Fung.

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