Connect with us

Thai Life

A worthy initiative – Phuket Gardening

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on 

PHUKET: Any initiative which includes the planting of new trees is to be welcomed. There is a plan afoot, initiated by Mr Songjit Suppakit of Phisut Technology and supported by Phuket’s Governor Maitri Inthusut, to connect Sirirat Road (near Le Meridian Beach Resort) to remote and spectacular Tri Trang and Freedom beaches.

The most ecologically sensitive proposal is to replace the existing footpath with a narrow road and walkway lined with pradu (rosewood) trees. These splendid trees, almost non-existent in the forests of Phuket because their valuable timber has long since been stolen for furniture, would light up the route with their masses of beautiful yellow flowers. Such an avenue could be called “The Botanic Road”.

There are three or four main varieties of rosewood in South-east Asia: Dalbergia nigra, now classified as an endangered species, D. latifolia, and D. sissoo which produces a wood even harder than teak. Another variety, oliveri, native to Thailand, has clusters of pink flowers –presumably not what Mr Songjit has in mind.

As forest trees with a canopy up to 20 meters high, they are unlikely to be suitable for your garden, but the prospect of a sylvan lane stretching through a green landscape of hills is inviting.

This initiative conveniently takes us to the letter “D”. While there is nothing else around quite as majestic or as universally known as Dalbergia, there are other plants worthy of mention. Dillenia is another Asian species which makes a broadly spreading tree, albeit not as tall as the rosewood. It has papery bark and thick, glossy, egg-shaped, deeply ribbed leaves up to a foot long. Alata has large, showy yellow flowers followed by red fruit: D.indica, which likes a shady position, has impressive white, magnolia-like flowers, with apple-like green fruit (hence the name elephant apple) about four inches in diameter, while the smaller D.ovata has golden blooms, and can tolerate full sun. The flesh of D. indica is used in India to make a kind of chutney called chulta. I have seen saplings for sale at the July Saphan Hin plant market, but it deserves wider recognition.

Another small fruit tree is imocarpus longan. The second part of the name gives it away, for this is the fruit – widely prized by Thais – that resembles a yellow-brown, smooth-skinned version of the lychee. If you are keen to try fruit trees in your garden, then this is a front-runner, a small tree with attractive large, pinnate foliage which makes it a useful shade tree. It produces racemes of yellow flowers and large bunches of sweet, juicy fruit.

Other garden plants, for example dracaena and dieffenbachia, will already be well known to readers of these columns. Suffice to say that dieffenbachia, with its succulent stems, and distinctive mottled green and white leaves, remains one of the most widely available plants. Among the very best for deep shade, provided you can deliver a regular supply of moisture, it will also do well in a container placed in a dark corner.

Again, dracaenas are part of most gardening landscapes. The plant’s ubiquity is illustrated by the fact that a Chalong development calls itself by the plant’s name. D. fragrans is the most common form. It is often cut back to a bare trunk or two to encourage leaf growth from the node immediately beneath, and this form is sometimes used in interior settings. Left to its own devices, it will grow to twenty feet, wreathed in arching, strap-like, often variegated leaves all the way down its columnar form.

There are now interesting cultivars, including victoriae with a silver central stripe and lindenii, a favorite for group plantings, which has bright yellow leaves. The low-maintenance D. reflexa has a bushy habit and smaller, vividly striped leaves. It is one of the most robust plants I know.

Tip of the week – Look out for larval pests

This time of year sees lots of pests on your plants. Not just ants, which are always around and harm your treasures by protecting sap-sucking aphids, or the larval leaf miners which tunnel away inside tender leaves. One miner I recently discovered, a minuscule brown form, has been responsible for boring along the undersides of yellow palm fronds, cutting off the sap flow and turning the tissue gray and lifeless. Difficult to spot.

My solitary lotus has some telltale skeletal leaves, thanks to an infestation of China mark moth caterpillars. Small and hairy, they conceal themselves underneath the foliage. There are emerald green oleander Hawk moth caterpillars: they started on the oleanders, but prefer to munch other shrubs in the apocynaceae family – tabernaemontana and adenium. There are also monarch butterfly larvae on the Indian milkweed (calatropis), but this sturdy plant can cope.


If you have a question, or a garden that you would like featured, you can email Patrick Campbell here.

Keep checking our online Phuket Lifestyle pages, follow us on Twitter @phuketgazette or join our Facebook fan page for regular gardening features and tips.

— Patrick Campbell

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand6 hours ago

Covid UPDATE Sunday: 18,027 infections, expat vaccine registration

Transport12 hours ago

August flight plans: Bangkok Airways, Nok Air, Thai Lion

Coronavirus (Covid-19)13 hours ago

New site for foreigner vaccine; Mor Prom deletes appointments

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Politics15 hours ago

Facebook fake news post suggesting a coup faces prosecution

Koh Samui19 hours ago

UPDATED: Samui Covid-19: 14 new Black Club infections, 2nd small cluster

Thailand20 hours ago

40,000 cases a day could happen by September, says projection

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Phuket21 hours ago

Phuket Sandbox Covid-19 infections: 35 today, 209 this week

Thailand21 hours ago

Prayut says he will not resign, warns politicians to behave

Thailand22 hours ago

Bangkok Train market to possibly close for good

Coronavirus (Covid-19)23 hours ago

Border between Kanchanaburi and Myanmar closed until…

Thailand24 hours ago

Covid UPDATE: 18,912 infections, provincial totals

Coronavirus (Covid-19)24 hours ago

PCD says don’t throw away used masks in water bottles after infections linked to bottles

Thailand1 day ago

Government says it’s okay to criticise them, if it’s fact based

Thailand1 day ago

Bangkok volunteer group “Sai Mai Will Survive” overwhelmed with calls

Coronavirus (Covid-19)1 day ago

Phuket reservations slow down for August

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism5 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending