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Phuket Gardening -a sticky note for gardeners

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: Despite its unfortunate name, pisonia is a most unusual and spectacular plant. It’s unusual because it’s grown as a garden shrub or small tree entirely for its distinctive foliage, which is sometimes a brilliant light green, but often a luminous golden yellow. It’s spectacular because no other shrub has leaves of quite the same hue.

An unlikely member of the bougainvillea family, it occurs widely in tropical regions of the world with most of the species hailing from America. But Pisonia grandis, which can grow into a large tree, is now found on many islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans where it forms dense thickets.

Perhaps that’s why one variety seems to be so at home here in Phuket. There are magnificent examples dotted around the island, mostly in front yards, especially in the Nai Harn and Rawai areas. These are specimens of Pisonia alba, a cultivar known in Thailand as saeng chan, a shrubby tree which produces the most showy and translucent leaves – hence its popular names of ‘lettuce tree’ or ‘moonlight tree’.

The sticky seeds are relatively insignificant. Although they trap insects, apparently they do not absorb or ingest the creatures, unlike the carnivorous pitcher plant I described last week. Interestingly, these seeds account for its other name of ‘catchbirdtree’, since they supposedly trap birds in their gummy embrace. This may be a fascinating idea, but it’s highly improbable. Anyway, in Phuket at least, it produces very few sticky seeds.

Pisonia alba is a tricky shrub to establish since it requires well-drained, sandy, slightly acidic soil. However, once pisonia gets going, it grows rapidly and soon provides a striking contrast to nearby shrubs.

Because it produces such dense foliage, it’s particularly effective as a verdant screen next to a lawn. It’s readily available here as a container plant in nurseries. It’s best situated in a dryish part of the garden where drainage is good, and where it will get plenty of sun.

It will survive as a container plant, but it tends to get leggy and is happier in the open garden. You can propagate from fresh seeds or cuttings. Variegated forms are now being developed, but pisonia remains a shrub that is more or less ignored in books on gardening. I find this to be a strange omission.

On a side note, the story continues on Lavender – the subject of my last article. You may recall that a reader asked if Lavender could be grown in Phuket, to which my answer was a resounding “no”. Just recently, one of our readers kindly pointed out the fact that Lavender is being grown at the Royal Agricultural Station on Doi Ang Khang in Chiang Mai.

Actually, lavender potpourri is being sold under the Doi Khan brand, and lavender water (eau de toilette) will be marketed soon. Of course, the growing site is higher and much cooler than Phuket. But at least it is being given a run here in Thailand, as many other subtropical plants should be.

After all, you never know until you try.

Phuket gardening tip of the week

Recently we discussed how to create areas of shade in your pristine garden. Trees such as golden cane palms and sturdy evergreen shrubs grow so rapidly they can provide pools of shade quicker than you ever believed possible. My garden, all of three years old, now has more shady than sunny spots.

No problem. The intensity of the Phuket sun is such that none of the tropical plants object to living in partial or filtered shade – what the Italians poetically call chiaroscuro. So out and out sun-seekers, including the popular ixoras, cacti, euphorbias, durantas, acalyphas, adeniums, and allamandas, will do equally well in semi-shade, so long as their root systems are in well-drained soil.

On the other hand, all of those rainforest understory plants, such as bromeliads, aglaonemas, dieffenbachias, philodendrons, anthuriums and indeed most twining climbers, will appreciate the newly secluded parts of the garden.

Phuket Gardening is Phuket Gazette columnist Patrick Campbell’s feature of all things flora.

If you have a garden that you would like featured on this page, please email Patrick by clicking here.

Keep checking our online Phuket Lifestyle pages for regular gardening features and tips.

— Patrick Campbell

- Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Sadvertising: The art of making us cry and selling stuff

The Thaiger



“Sadvertising is a consumer advertising trend in which ad creators are using a certain set of strategies to play on people’s emotions and touch off feelings of sadness, melancholy or wistfulness. Touching or emotional advertising has become increasingly popular in recent years as companies work to create strong emotional ties around their products. This is based on a belief that advertising that elicits an emotional reaction from viewers is more likely to be shared, particularly online and over social media. By attempting to reach consumers on a deeper level, sadvertising represents an attempt to gain their attention in an increasingly ad-cluttered world.”

Sadvertising is something that Thai marketeers do very well. There have been some famous ‘Sads’, like this one…

One of the big ideas behind ‘sadvertising’ is the sudden shift in advertising across generations. Not too long ago, comedy and laughter were the most common advertising strategies. Sadvertising is a kind of logical progression, although it doesn’t really work the same way that comedy did. But sometimes you can combine the two…

While there is a lot of potential for innovating advertising to bring out a wider range of emotions, some experts point out that there are inherent limitations to sadvertising that do exist with comic advertising. While many forms of comedy can be considered harmless in advertising, sadness is, at its heart, a negative emotion based on negative outcomes, which is something that marketers have classically avoided.

That means that in sadvertising, marketers must walk a fine line between tugging at consumers’ heartstrings and making them feel depressed. And, mostly of course, they and make sure you have that happy ending.

Here’s one more (there are plenty of others). Have your handkerchief ready for this one…


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Food Scene

World’s Top 50 Restaurants – Thailand scores in the top ten

The Thaiger & The Nation



PHOTO: Robb Report

European eating establishments have dominated this year’s Top 50 Restaurant list. The leading fine dining venues of 2018 were revealed at a ceremony in Bilbao, Spain.

This year, culinary masterminds from five continents gathered in the Spanish port city of Bilbao for an award ceremony to name the 50 best fine dining joints for 2018 and, most importantly, crown a champion.

For 2018, the top prize went to Italy’s Osteria Francescana and head chef Massimo Bottura, whose dazzling and sometimes surreal reworkings of classic Italian recipes saw him return to the top spot he first held in 2016.

While European eateries continued to dominate the awards, known as the Oscars of the fine dining world, all five continents were represented, with Bangkok’s Gaggan at five on the list and Lima’s Central at six.

According to organisers, the results were compiled from an “independent” voting panel of 1,000 judges that were subject to adjudication.
Anthony Bourdain, the CNN presenter, writer and chef who often railed against the kind of fine dining establishments celebrated by the awards, was also remembered.
“His honesty, his determination and his stubborn truth telling changed our industry for the better,” said William Drew, group editor of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

Here is the Top Ten restaurants in the list…

1. Osteria Francescana (Modena, Italy) *best restaurant in Europe*

2. El Celler de Can Roca (Girona, Spain)

3. Mirazur (Menton, France)

4. Eleven Madison Park (New York City) *best restaurant in North America*

5. Gaggan (Bangkok) *best restaurant in Asia*

6. Central (Lima, Peru) *best restaurant in South America*

7. Maido (Lima, Peru)

8. Arpege (Paris, France)

9. Mugaritz (San Sebastian, Spain)

10. Asador Etxebarri (Axpe, Spain)

Read the rest of the story from CNN HERE.

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Stunning new Lux Neo project at Chaweng, Koh Samui

The Thaiger



Lux Neo is now available, combining stunning sea views and outstanding modern design. Lux Neo is the newest award winning project by the “Neo” team with critiqued unique villa design and award winning styling. Click HERE to read more about the Neo design team and some of their otters award-winning projects.

This magnificent site offers a unique combination for in Thailand – inspired design, value, astonishing views and quality. Designer two or three bedroom villas are now available with sea views to Chaweng Noi and just minutes to the main attractions, beaches, shops, airport and the main Chaweng shopping and beach areas.

The “Lux” location is 18 Rai of premium Chaweng Noi sea view land with “Neo” being a private 12 plot residential development featuring the uniquely inspired villa style. The highly desirable location of Chaweng Noi is just 1 kilometre away from some of Koh Samui’s best beaches and restaurants.

These luxuriously designed spaces include vaulted double height ceilings, mezzanine floors, large open airy spaces, modern terrazzo bathrooms and mezzanine bedrooms – all with breathtaking views of Koh Samui offering unparalleled design with nothing else like it in South East Asia.

Prices start from 8.8 million baht for the 2 bedroom villas ranging up to 12.5 million baht for the 3 bedroom villas.

Read more about the details of this stunning Samui development or make enquiries HERE. You will be able to find out a lot more information as well as compare the new Lux Neo to other projects in the area.

Go to when you want to search for Thailand’s largest selection of properties.

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