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Gardening for layabouts

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Gardening for layabouts | The Thaiger

PHUKET: I’m sure you have heard the expression, beloved by florists the world over, “Say it with flowers”. Here’s an interesting slant on the expression. An elderly couple employed a “nice” German prisoner of war to tend their garden during the Second World War.

I remember the practice – my English parents did likewise. But this POW was different. When the bright yellow crocuses came up in their spring lawn, they spelled out “Heil Hitler!” An arresting
example of man controlling nature.

Talk of constraining natural forces recalls a recent discussion in this column on low maintenance gardening, a necessity for most of us on this emerald isle because of such factors as high levels of heat and humidity, and diminishing levels of personal energy set against the unbridled vigor of plant growth. I advised small trees and plenty of shrubs and especially evergreens or plants with a neat appearance that could mostly be left to their own devices.

In this regard, climbers are a sound choice, for they are among the most tractable of plants. In contrast to the rigid and inflexible branches of trees and large woody shrubs, their stems are flexible and limber, and can be guided or trained to take any direction you want – upward or outward on a wall or fence, around a tree or unattractive post, or up and over a trellis, arbor or pergola. Some can even serve as ground cover. And because they all have relatively slender branches, they are easy to trim or prune.

But be aware that though all vines have long, pliable stems, they climb in a variety of ways. Some are self-supporting and equipped with tendrils; some twine around their own stems; others cling by means of suckers to existing structures. And still more are scrambling or scandent plants that ascend skywards with no visible means of attachment; they climb effectively only if their stems are securely tied to some form of support.

I propose leaving this last category for another day. While it means leaving out vines I would personally want in a garden and do indeed possess, I am conscious that my allamandas, chalice vines, bougainvilleas, thunbergias and Rangoon creepers are all heavyweight vines that need propping up. Still, I have lauded their virtues before and will do so again. In terms of producing near continuous displays of exotic and eye-catching blooms, they are indispensable.

Even without them, the choices are extensive. One of the best is the bignonia. It fits our criteria because it will thrive unattended, in most conditions, and climbs by tendrils and holdfast discs, attaching itself to almost any surface. The flowers are trumpet-shaped , about two inches across and are conspicuous in plant nurseries with their attractive deep red or purplish blooms with a yellow or white throat. Often they appear in hanging baskets.

Bignonias have been subject to much botanical reclassification: the genus once included many vines with trumpet-shaped blooms. Confusingly, some are still sold as bignonias, but the purple flowering variety usually found here is often now called saritaea magnifica or Baan burii muang in Thai.

Whatever you care to call it – saritaea or bignonia capreolata – it is spectacular, a vigorous grower which has shiny dark green leaflets, each pair with a branching tendril. Perfectly equipped for upward growth, my own specimen, left to its own devices, has colonized an alstonia and produces a seemingly continuous floral display. In America it is sometimes called crossvine; when its stem are cut, it resembles a cross.

The much smaller bignonia (or tecoma) capensis has only a partly climbing habit. But as a relative, it deserves a mention here. Smaller and slower growing, T. capensis, has glossy green, pinnate leaves and orange or yellow tubular flowers that are borne in clumpy racemes at the end of branches.

You may know it as the cape honeysuckle, a climber tolerant of a wide range of conditions including salt spray, wind and drought. A year-round bloomer and another good choice for the laid-back Phuket gardener.

If you have a question or a garden that you would like featured you can email me at: drpaccampbell@gmail.com

— Patrick Campbell

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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People

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people

Nattha Thepbamrung

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‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | The Thaiger

On October 18, the ‘Always Smile Journey’ group and its partners will host an exhibition with plenty of fun activities at the Yak Yai Market, near Chalong Circle, in Phuket. This event was designed to raise funds to provide free English classes for underprivileged people on the island of Phuket on Saturdays and Sundays. The group does not accept donations but aims to raise money through the sales of the products available at the event.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

From 2 pm to 8 pm, there will be a number of artists, musicians and performers who will keep the attendees entertained along the way. There will be a short film about His Majesty King Rama 9 as well as fun activities and games for kids and families, which are all free of charge.

The big bike crew is also a part of this event. They will ride a parade from Rawai Beach heading to the market and showcase their gorgeous two-wheel buddies.

One of the highlights of the Always Smile Journey exhibition is the ‘Happening’ artists group, who will draw and paint a picture of the His Majesty King Rama 9 under the name ‘Street Art King Bhumibol’ on a 4×10 meter sign live at the event so the guests will experience this large-scale art in action. The Happening will also offer portrait sketching for the participants.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

One of the works created by the Happening team; a painting of HM the King Rama 9 on a huge wall (Photo credit: Chawat Chumpasan)

There will also be some western menus available at the event which will be donated to underprivileged children.

This free English class project has over seven years of experience through its cooperation working with individuals and other charity organizations. Throughout the years, the group visited several areas such as Ban Laem Hoy School, Ban Bopud School and Ban Angthong School in Samui, Surat Thani province, Ban Bueng Ao Oun School and Ban Kakoh Rayong, in Surin province, Jalae Village of Lahu (Muser) in Chiang Rai province, as well as community education centers in Siem Reap, Cambodia and in Luang Prabang, in Laos.

This event is a cooperation between several groups, including Happening, Yak Yai Market and Arrow Media, Tattoo artist group, Thonburi Art School Alumni, International School of Tourism, Suratthani Rajabhat University, big bike group from Phuket, artists/performers/musicians from many provinces as well as several businesses across Phuket.

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Bangkok

The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations

The Thaiger

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The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Hello Phuket – destined for huge tourist growth in the next six years – fodors.com

In 2018, international tourist arrival traffic grew by 6% to reach a total of 1.4 billion world tourists, according to research by UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. And there’s a lot more to come with international travel predicted to increase by a massive 35% over the next six years to 2025.

But where is all that extra traffic going to go? Which destinations are quiet now that might be swarming with tourists in the years to come? Two destinations in Thailand are set for a prosperous future, according to the data. Whilst almost all the growth is excepted to be to Asian destinations, an under-visited resource for world tourism so far.

Euromonitor data has been used to simulate tourist growth models and reveal the fastest growing projected visitor arrivals in major cities and destinations around the world for 2025, compared to arrival figures in 2018.

In Thailand, Phuket’s tourist traffic is poised to increase up to 85% in the next six years, from nearly 12 million arrivals in 2018 to over 22 million in 2025. Bangkok is predicted to see the 8th most prolific rise in tourist traffic, with arrivals in Bangkok set to swell an additional 68% during the same period. Doha, the capital of Qatar, is set to explode with 104% increase in traffic over the next six years.

The data also predicts that both Bangkok and Phuket will rebound big time in 2020, Phuket in particular with a growth of around 20% for the next year, accord to the data from TravelSupermarket.com.

By 2025 the data predicts that Bangkok will be the world’s #1 tourist destination, a position it’s held before in recent years. The Thai capital will be followed by Singapore, Dubai, Phuket and Kuala Lumpur, making South East Asia the world’s emerging tourism hotspot.

Some of the world’s favourites – New York, Paris, London – will continue to grow their tourist numbers but not at the rate of most Asian destinations.

You can read the full list HERE.

The world's fastest growing tourist destinations | News by The Thaiger

Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com

The world's fastest growing tourist destinations | News by The Thaiger

Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com

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Phuket

Rawai beachfront water shut-off tomorrow for mains works

The Thaiger

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Rawai beachfront water shut-off tomorrow for mains works | The Thaiger

The Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority says Rawai’s mains water supply will be shut off tomorrow (Tuesday, October 15) as new water pipes are fitted in front of The Title Beach Front condo resort complex on the town’s beachfront.

The mains water supply will be shut off from 9am until 4:30pm along the beachfront strip.

The PWA says the areas affected will be along Wiset Road along the Rawai beachfront road, as well as Soi Yanui and Soi Ruafaed.

Residents and businesses are being urged to collect water for use during the day today, before tomorrow morning’s shut-off.

As usual, the PWA say…“We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

Contact the Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority on 076 319173 or 082 7901634 for more details.

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