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Phuket Gardening: Blooming plumerias

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Gardening: Blooming plumerias | The Thaiger

PHUKET: In an email both quirky and perceptive, a fellow contributor to the Phuket Gazette recently confessed to dealing with Phuket’s 35 degree heat by gardening at night, and thereby, and unsurprisingly, incurring the curiosity of his neighbors. Personally I haven’t tried it.

But, I entirely concur with his subsequent reasoning that because the island’s soil is so difficult to work and so impoverished, it helps to explain why locals use so many pots. In this way, they can control the conditions (for example, by using better quality soil or moving pots around) in which their container plants can flourish.

Of plants that can cope with Phuket’s clay marl, our e-mailer singled out two, of which one was the plumeria or frangipani (the other was bamboo), giving me an excuse to laud its virtues in print.

Yes, the plumeria is a real toughie, putting up with dry as well as semi-arid conditions underfoot. And although it is another American native, it has adapted to life in the tropical fast-lane everywhere in South East Asia.

Let’s pursue a metaphor for a moment. Take the Chalong motorway to nowhere (actually Rawai), take one of the signed turnings left off Wichit Road, and near the sea you will find a Muslim cemetery decked out with numerous graceful, white-blossoming plumerias, trees which seem to flower all year round with little if any attention

Coincidentally, the reason why Thais are sometimes reluctant to cultivate this shrub is because of its association with graveyards. They have even changed the old-fashioned name of lam–tom, a word redolent of sadness, to the bright and breezy sounding leelawadee.

But for your “farang” garden, the leelawadee is a must. It has an exquisite scent, and the flowers are borne in dense clusters which may contain as many as a hundred blooms. They are initially tubular in appearance, but expand into a “pinwheel” of five petals that average two to three inches in diameter, Most commonly white, or pink, the blooms may also be red, yellow or, in the case of some hybrids, possess multiple colors.

The large leaves, which grow mostly near the ends of branches, are usually glossy green, but may be a dull green; they are generally ovate, but may be blunt-tipped (obtusa) or pointed (rubra). Obtusa cultivars tend to retain their foliage all year round, while the deciduous types drop their leaves for part of the year, giving the shrub a rather forlorn appearance.

Plumerias can be produce by seed, but they are better grown from cuttings. Like many members of the apocynaceae family, cuttings, which should be one foot or more in length, produce a milky sap which is toxic, and can irritate the skin. As with euphorbias, it is best to allow the cut end to dry out or ‘cure’ for up to two weeks before inserting it in potting mix or barely moist soil. Do not over-water while the cutting is taking root, otherwise it will rot. Quick growers, established plumerias can reach ten to twelve feet in six years, given adequate fertilizer (an ideal blend is 10-30-10 ) and moderate moisture. It is a common practice among commercial growers, who use the flowers for leis(garlands), to prune the canopy in order to keep it low, and to encourage branching and flowering.

Left to its own devices, most varieties will develop an open crown with relatively few branches. Ideal if you want to grow smaller plants in its sparse shadow.

Oh, and by the way, you don’t have to plant your plumeria cuttings by the light of the moon….

Tip of the week – biennials

Biennials typically complete their life-cycle in two years. During their first year they grow from seed into leafy, but non-blooming plants. However, those grown in nurseries usually flower and set seed the same year.

Normally biennials need a cool period, so there are relatively few in the tropics. Echium pininana, which produces tall rosettes of long leaves followed by blue flowers is one that will grow here.

Bulbs have specialized roots or stem bases that store nutrients and energy for the plant’s growth. Choose bulbs that are plump and firm (as with onions).

In most soils, true bulbs and corms should be planted about three times as deep as the bulb is wide. They will need water while they are actively growing. For most, growth begins after planting and continues until the flowers or foliage dies back. Use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer to replenish depleted nutrients.

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

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 for regular gardening features and tips

— 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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Bangkok

Tax on salt content being considered

Greeley Pulitzer

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Tax on salt content being considered | The Thaiger

The Excise Department is considering imposing a tax on the salt content of food to encourage food producers to reduce the sodium content of snacks, instant noodles and seasoning cubes.

The director of the Office of Tax Planning said that the department is discussing a limit on the amount of sodium food can contain, in line with the standard set by the World Health Organization (WHO), which is 2,000 milligrams of salt per day.

In reality, Thai people consume an average of 1,000 milligrams per meal, making their daily intake well above WHO guidelines, according to the director.

He said any tax imposed would be at a level which would encourage food producers to reduce the sodium in their processed food without being punitive, adding that the proposal isn’t intended to generate more tax revenue, but to help protect the health of consumers. Excessive sodium in the diet can lead to high blood pressure and kidney disease.

Fish sauce, soy sauce and salt would not be taxed.

SOURCE: thaipbsworld.com

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News

Water shortage warnings in 22 provinces

Greeley Pulitzer

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Water shortage warnings in 22 provinces | The Thaiger

People living in 22 Thai provinces are being warned to prepare for shortages of drinking water during the upcoming dry season, due to start on November 1st.

The warning was issued by the National Water Resources Office, citing low levels in reservoirs, which are the main sources for tap water production waterworks in 22 provinces.

Areas at risk identified by the office are in northern, north-eastern, eastern and southern provinces.

Measures have been adopted by agencies charged with dealing with water shortages. including dredging water channels to allow greater volumes of water to flow into reservoirs, drilling underground wells, enlarging storage ponds and the purchase of water to supply to those in urgent need.

The Royal Irrigation Department has announced that people should use water sparingly.

There are currently about 6 billion cubic metres of usable water in reservoirs in the affected provinces, with 5 billion cubic metres reserved for consumption and ecological preservation, leaving only 1 billion cubic metres for use in agriculture.

This means farmers in the Chao Phraya river basin may not be able to grow a second crop of rice this year.

SOURCE: thaipbsworld.com

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Bangkok

Green Day heading back to BKK in 2020

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Green Day heading back to BKK in 2020 | The Thaiger

Green Day, five-time Grammy Award winners, are embarking on a global tour in 2020, including a stop-over in Bangkok during March. The rock ‘n’ roll Hall of Fame inductees will perform a series of concerts throughout Europe, UK, North America and Asia.

“Green Day Live in Bangkok” takes place on March 11, 2020 at Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani. But it’s not their first time. Green Day sold out concerts in their last Thai live gigs in 1996 and 2010.

Formed in 1986 in Berkeley, California, Green Day is one of the world’s best-selling bands of all time, with more than 70 million records sold worldwide and 10 billion cumulative online streams of their music and performances. Their 1994 breakout album “Dookie” is widely credited with popularising and reviving mainstream interest in punk rock, catapulting a career-long run of No 1 hit singles.

In 2004, Green Day released the rock opera “American Idiot”, selling more than 7 million copies in the US alone and taking home the Grammy Award for Best Rock Album. In 2010, a stage adaptation of “American Idiot” debuted on Broadway to critical and commercial acclaim. Entertainment Weekly called Green Day, “The most influential band of their generation,” while Rolling Stone said, “Green Day have inspired more young bands to start than any act this side of KISS, and that doesn’t seem to be changing.”

Green Day Live in Bangkok 2020 is on March 11, 2020 at Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani.

Ticket prices start at 2,000 baht and tickets go on sale on November 2 at all ThaiTicketMajor outlets via www.livenation.co.th or www.thaiticketmajor.com or call: 02 262 3838 for more information.

SOURCE: The Nation

Green Day heading back to BKK in 2020 | News by The Thaiger

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