DB Community Green Square serves to highlight the natural beauty of DB and encourage residents to join together in healthy outdoor activities. Elizabeth Jerabek meets the DB landscape team to find out more
PHOTOS BY Richard Gordon – richardgordonphotography.com & COURTESY OF City Management
Discovery Bay landscaper Anna Li is happy to have spent the day getting her hands dirty with DB residents at a series of flowerbasket arrangement workshops, and she is excited to show me what the participants have planted in their flower baskets.
“I don’t think of myself as a teacher,” says Anna, who has been an officer with the DB landscape team for over two years. “I wanted to provide lots of different plants for people to choose from at the workshop, and I was really curious to see how everyone would mix and match to make their own unique flower basket. I wanted to encourage people to be creative and think outside of the box.”
The flower-basket arrangement workshops were held at DB Community Green Square on April 24 and, due to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions, they were the first opportunity that the DB landscape team has had to directly interact with residents in over a year. Similar to the collaborative approach with DB landscapers and residents at the workshops, creating a partnership between City Management (CM, officially Discovery Services Management Ltd), and residents is one of the main objectives behind DB Community Green Square.
“The mission is even part of the name,” says Eddie Heung on behalf of CM’s community relations team. “The ‘Square’ in the name is the result of DBers (residents and CM) – DB2 – working together to create a new gathering place.
“When DB Nursery was moved to an upland location near DB Golf Course last December, HKR, as the landlord, gave CM permission to replan the site as DB Community Green Square. It’s a new spot for residents to enjoy leisure and landscaping activities.”
DB Community Green Square launched on April 10 [opposite Haven Court] with the first in a series of monthly community plant markets.
DB’s low-density residential planning is unique in Hong Kong and that – along with residents’ interest in gardening – is what has made a horticultural space like DB Community Green Square possible. The aim is threefold – to highlight the natural beauty of DB, to encourage residents to participate in healthy outdoor activities, and to enable local experts to share their knowledge about gardening and landscaping and thereby give back to the community.
One of the most appealing aspects of DB Community Green Square is that it is designed to forge a connection between all those involved – residents, the landscape team and the community relations team. Residents are being encouraged to register as ‘Green DBers’ so that they can participate in plant workshops and other leisure activities. “We hope that someday the Green DBers will become workshop leaders too and share what they’ve learned from our colleagues with other residents,” says Eddie.
DB Community Green Square also includes an area of ‘community farmland’, which CM has invited a group of residents – the Green Elite – to tend together with the DB landscape team. The new collaborative will grow produce (such as corn, squash and tomatoes) to sell at the monthly DB plant markets. Indeed, cultivation is already underway and the first members of the Green Elite have had the opportunity to contribute to the site’s overall planning. Leisure activities such as yoga and meditation classes, unplugged music concerts and classes for children may also feature in the upcoming programme of events. “No matter what kind of events happen in DB Community Green Square, it is a way to build up good community relationships,” says Eddie.
“It is definitely a place that belongs to the residents. In fact, we have already received a number of excellent suggestions for events that could be held at DB Community Green Square. For now, our event offering is limited by COVID-19 social distancing restrictions but we are confident that we can find a balance.” As a communication platform, facilitating interaction between residents and between residents and CM, DB Community Green Square has so much potential. It will be a two-way street where residents can learn from the landscape team, and the landscape team can learn from residents. It will be a space where CM can fast-track residents’ ideas for outdoor events. And, perhaps most importantly, it will enable everyone involved to work together to improve quality of life and further beautify DB.
ENHANCING THE LANDSCAPE
Anna, for one, continues to be amazed by DB’s natural beauty – it’s fresh air and wide-open spaces. “When I first came to DB to work with the landscape team, I did not feel like I was in Hong Kong anymore and I was reminded of Auroville, the utopian community in India,” she says. There’s no doubt that DB is an innovative example of green and sustainable residential development, and Anna has enjoyed becoming part of the community through her work. “I really like the ‘Discovery’ part of the name, and here I have discovered many new skills and interests,” she says. “Similarly, I hope DB Community Green Square can be an opportunity for residents to grow and discover more about the beautiful landscape around them.
“I look forward to reaching out to the community to share stories about the plants we use in the landscaping and to increase the community’s awareness of how the landscape team cares for the environment in DB,” Anna adds. With over 20 years of experience, Leong Kam Chun – aka Franky – is a veteran member of the DB landscape team and he takes his responsibilities seriously. “We mainly consider how we can beautify the DB environment and enhance the natural atmosphere,” he says. “I heard from colleagues that some DB residents are amazed by the lotus pool, which they compare with the wetland area in north-west Hong Kong. Generally speaking, residents love DB because it’s quiet and peaceful and they can enjoy nature everywhere.”
Like Anna, Franky is looking forward to working closely with residents at DB Community Green Square. “I enjoy communicating with residents very much and I think they are very kind,” he says. “Sometimes, when I care for the plants in different villages, some residents talk to me and we exchange landscape knowledge with each other.
“My colleagues and I are responsible for beautifying DB; we always work towards its betterment,” Franky adds. “It can be hard work, especially in the summer, but sometimes DB residents show their appreciation of our gardening work. I am always really glad to hear it and, as our team leader says, it becomes motivation for work.” Talk about a two-way street!
Franky adds. “It can be hard work, especially in the summer, but sometimes DB residents show their appreciation of our gardening work. I am always really glad to hear it and, as our team leader says, it becomes motivation for work.” Talk about a two-way street!
DB Community Green Square provides a platform for local experts to share their knowledge about gardening and landscaping. Leisure activities such as yoga, unplugged music performances and classes for children are also in the offing.
June 5 and July 3: Monthly plant market
June 16: Shinrin-yoku (forest bathing) workshop
June 19: Succulent arrangement workshop