The festive feel of Victoria Park, Causeway Bay, during the Lunar New Year fair is hard to beat. But to avoid freezing our extremities while perusing Lunar New Year flowers and knick-knacks, the squeamish among us might opt for the relative warmth of the sixth annual East Point City fair in Tseung Kwan O - touted as the city's largest indoor Lunar New Year fair. In collaboration with botanist Yeung Siu-lung, or the 'orchid king', the fair will debut 10 new orchid hybrids auspiciously called The Dragon's Nine Sons collection.
The colourful preview of the collection in Causeway Bay's World Trade Centre on Wednesday had the feel of a car show, with leggy models arching next to each exotic specimen as an announcer went down the list of specs. The attention-grabbing blooms were overshadowed only by the dripping symbolism of their names - Pearls From the Golden Dragon's Mouth and The Glory of Dragon Blossoms being just a couple.
Yeung unveiled the ultimate show-stopper - a unique specimen that yielded two differently coloured blooms from one bulb. 'I've been cross-breeding orchids for many years now, and this kind of specimen is extremely rare,' Yeung said. 'This single plant is the only one of its kind this season.'
It's no wonder that the prized sprout is the only plant being auctioned at the fair, with a starting bid of HK$100,000. Those of us without deep pockets will have to settle for something less rare - even then, it will be a pretty penny. According to the chairman of the Hong Kong Wholesale Florist Association, Sunny Lai Wing-chun, overall flower prices are up 5 per cent from last year due to inflation, and the price of orchids has shot up 30 per cent, thanks to the premature blooming of more than half the stock over an unseasonably warm Christmas.