Connect with us

Thai Life

Bonsai, cacti, palms and ponds – Phuket Gardening

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: One article could hardly begin to catalog the sheer scope and variety of the Phuket Botanical Garden, with its 15 rai and an army of 30 gardening staff. There are more than 30 independent zones, ranging from Thai inspired mini-gardens to a Japanese style affair complete with miniature pagoda and red rectangular arch; even an English Garden with raised boxes of petunias and pots of busy lizzies (impatiens), all in multicolored bloom (click here for article).

Interestingly, these are two annuals that will cope both with the cool climate of Britain, suitably protected, with the searing heat of Phuket. Other annuals such as African marigolds, capable of surviving both environments, featured in displays elsewhere.

In the Cactus Garden, an array of round, prickly succulents, some the size of basketballs, each carefully labeled, and thriving in simulated desert-like conditions, reminded me of Arizona.

A tour around Phuket’s Botanic Garden. Video: Phuket Today

But the stars of the show are Thai inspired. There is a splendid Bonsai Garden with a huge horse and elephant fashioned from living greenery that stand guard over the entrance. Low clipped hedges of box-like evergreens lead the eye to massed plantings of astilbes in vivid shades of orange, deep red and magenta. Here are massive bromeliads, some more than six feet tall and – a real surprise – round beds of ground-hugging wedelia, looking perky with their bright green foliage and yellow starry flowers.

The tranquil fern garden also had its fair share of massive bromeliads, aechmeas and purplish neoregelias to the fore. This is a particularly impressive zone, landscaped with rocks and statuary, and awash with fountains and waterfalls to provide the necessary humidity. Even the rocks are mossy. Ferns abound everywhere, especially a luxuriant stand of sword ferns (nephrolepis cordifolia).

No Thai garden would be complete without its palms. The area devoted to single specimens [though there are palms galore] was a lawn, carpeted with Malaysia grass. Of course, the tall, statuesque palms allow plenty of light to filter through beneath. This zone provided tangible evidence of that fact: here, the humble oil palm rubbed fronds with a glaucous Bismarck palm, here, foxtails, a spreading phoenix palm and even a traveller tree shared the space with a copernica palm replete with huge glossy fruits.

Other zones were less foreseeable. There is a butterfly garden – a nice touch – and a vine garden, set in deep shade, Predictably, it is drained of color save for an irrepressible violet/blue clitoria ternatea and a budding Rangoon creeper.

The Variegated Leaf Garden, fronted by an impressive green and yellow leaved fig was relatively bare, though the Sufficient Garden, where a large shallow pond, looked destined to produce a crop of rice.

A real revelation, however, was the Winter Garden, a sector beneath a plastic dome, which housed, in its air-conditioned atmosphere, the most extraordinary array of begonias in pots, of a scarlet hue so brilliant that I initially thought they were plastic. It just shows what can be done.

So does the whole enterprise. All right, it has double pricing, a fact which doubtless deters tourists and expats. Sadly, the place was almost deserted. The brochure does no justice to the place, and though there are attractive signposts, there is no map of the Gardens. Visitors would surely pay for one. Labeling was sporadic.

But these are minor cavils. For this is a special place which not only botanists, but journeymen gardeners and anyone interested in Thailand’s natural heritage would profit from visiting. It is a work of art, a labor of love, artistically conceived and imaginatively landscaped, which offers intimations of how an undeveloped Phuket might once have looked.

If you missed the first instalment on The Phuket Botanic Garden, I hope this week’s account will persuade you to go. It is situated off Chao Fa Soi 48. The right turn into 48 from Chao Fa West is directly next to the offices of TOT. From Chao Fa East, take a left turn at Soi 14 (click here for map).

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


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:

Best of8 mins ago

Top 5 cookie shops in Bangkok

Drugs46 mins ago

Marine police seize 30 kilograms of methamphetmine from squid fishing boat

Thailand50 mins ago

Thailand News Today | Bars defy bans, Sandbox ‘still on’, vaccine rush | July 28

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!

Thailand2 hours ago

Thailand to apply for Guinness World Record for longest petrified log

Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 hours ago

Koh Samui bar and club finds 16 Covid-19 infections

Best of4 hours ago

Kanchanaburi’s 5 coolest hotels

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand4 hours ago

Thousands of inmates granted royal pardon on HM the King’s birthday

Coronavirus (Covid-19)5 hours ago

Wednesday Covid Update: 16,533 new cases; provincial totals

Best of5 hours ago

5 of the most amazing hotels in Koh Chang

Best of5 hours ago

The best steakhouses in Pattaya serving juicy steak

Coronavirus (Covid-19)7 hours ago

Girls infected with Covid after mother dies at home; public criticises healthcare system

Coronavirus Vaccines7 hours ago

Crowds rush to Bang Sue for vaccination ahead of walk-in registration ending

Coronavirus Thailand8 hours ago

Thai PM predicts current Covid crisis will be over in 2 or 3 weeks – 4 at the most

Coronavirus Vaccines8 hours ago

Health Ministry says all frontline medical workers will get donated Pfizer doses

Coronavirus Vaccines9 hours ago

Study confirms mixing AstraZeneca and mRNA vaccines as good as 2 mRNA doses

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

Thailand6 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