Companies - November 27, 2018 | 06:00 pm PT

Stretching over 600m along the Ca Cam River, Sakura Park, to be created by major property developer Phu My Hung Development Corp. and its Japanese partners, will be a special landmark in Phu My Hung Midtown.

Inspired by the Japanese cherry blossom season, the park will have hundreds of Singapore sakura, and trees.

This is the most elaborate project in the complex. Sakura Park will cost millions of US dollars excluding the costs of transportation and cherry and many other flowers, according to Truong Quoc Hung, vice president of Phu My Hung Development Corp..

Le Van Chung is a gardener working in the Phu My Hung City Center. His daily tasks involve watering, manicuring grass, fertilizing, spraying plant nutrients, and cleaning nurseries. For the last two years he has put a lot of work into tending the Singapore sakura trees in the nursery. These are the main trees meant for Sakura Park, the first cherry blossom park in Vietnam.

When the trees first arrived,their trunks and branches were badly damaged because of the long travel. With proper care, the trunks have recovered well and spread their wide green canopy.

To acclimatize the trees to their new environment, Chung and other workers buried their roots deep in the ground, watered them twice a day and sprayed them with plant nutrients. In the dry season he visits the nursery from 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. every day to water them. On rainy days this work is reduced but there are pests.

He said cheerfully: "Rain or sun, every day I spend time looking closely at each tree to check for signs of pests. Last April the first batch of flowers was stunning."

According to Nguyen Thanh Tam, an engineer in the Phu My Hung City Center, the nursery has around 400 Singapore sakura trees delivered by growers in Sa Dec in the southern Dong Thap Province.

Unlike other trees, this species takes up six months for its roots to acclimatize with the soil and start a normal development. So instead of waiting for the Sakura Park construction to finish, Phu My Hung decided to buy three- or four-year-old trees to nurse them directly. The trees have been in the nursery for nearly two years. It took more than a month just to transport and gather all the trees that this project needs.

Tam, who has been in charge of Phu My Hung’s greenery for more than two decades, highly values rare plants like Singapore sakura.

On receiving instructions from the company to ensure the best quality of the plants, he began to scour for information online and ask experienced gardeners in the west about farming techniques.

But 10-15 percent of the first batch of Singapore sakura died because they could not survive the climate-soil change and the transportation.

As he researched the reasons for it, he found a way to change the mixture of the substrate and better check the moisture content and alkalinity in the soil. This proved fruitful and the trees started to grow new branches within six months. It is expected that by the end of this year some of these first trees will be planted in the first phase of Sakura Park.

"The trees have adapted and can flower in the next dry season," Tam said.

"When planted, the trees will grow quickly and blossom in the following years."

The tree is native to South America and has been grown in HCMC since 2009 on Dien Bien Phu, Vo Thi Sau and Vo Van Kiet streets. It grows to an average height of 15m and its trunk is 30-50cm across. The flowers are bell-shaped and pink or light purple.

The unique feature of this tree is that when it flowers most of the leaves fall off, leaving only a cluster of purple flowers on each branch.

Young people call this the cherry flower version of Vietnam.

During the search for candidates to replace Japanese cherry blossoms, for which the climate in HCMC is not suitable, architects at Kyta Company decided to choose the Singapore sakura. Its flowers, whose color and shape are similar to that of cherry blossoms, blossom twice a year and are expected to attract crowds of visitors like the Hanami Flower Festival in Japan.

Even the fallen petals will turn the road into a romantic rose carpet.

Norihiko Kudo, director of Kyta, the architecture company that designed Phu My Hung Midtown, said: "Along with the development of the complex, we want to create an interesting and poetic living space with flower festivals when flowers bloom. People should come and indulge themselves in the scenery and experience the outstanding facilities at this park."

Besides the two Singapore sakura seasons, the architects will also depend on other beautiful flowering plants that bloom continually to maintain the park's vibrant colors throughout the year. To attract visitors at night, the park will have an artistic lighting system with dazzling colors.

In addition to the well-researched and carefully selected plants, Sakura Park will also have facilities serving the needs of residents of Phu My Hung Midtown and visitors to HCMC. The park will be divided into three main areas: Sakura Plaza, Kid Zone and Sports Zone

The Sakura Plaza will be designed in the shape of a cherry blossom. It will have a fountain with sprinklers placed at various heights to create an image of cherry blossoms of different sizes.

The Kid Zone on the left side of the Sakura Plaza will occupy a third of the park. There will be three playgrounds with sand for children aged one to three and a separate yard for others aged four to 13. They will have slides, seesaws, and other equipment to enable children to play and exercise, ensuring their mental and physical development.

The Sports Zone will be on the right side of the main square. It will have a multi-purpose pitch for many popular sports and an area for spectators.

Hung said a feature of Sakura Park is its open-air design, which would serve not only residents of Phu My Hung Midtown but also visitors to the city.

Phu My Hung wanted to turn this park into a public space similar to The Crescent in District 7, he said.

"Sakura Park is expected to become another famous landmark of Phu My Hung and HCM City in general: a cozy, luxurious and private landscape enjoyable for all age groups."

According to a company spokesperson, the first stage of Sakura Park will open in 2019 at the same time the first two components of the Phu My Hung Midtown complex, The Grande and The Symphony, are completed. Phase 2 of the park will be built to coincide with the completion of the remaining two components of Midtown.

The current fourth component will also be its last. Named The Peak, the project is the most prestigious in Midtown. After 96 percent of the condos were sold within only one hour during the first sales, the next launch is scheduled in December this year.