PHUKET: When I first came to Phuket, it was well nigh impossible to find ceramic pots that were completely waterproof. Indeed, I recall filling the drainage holes in glazed pots with cement in order to prevent leakage.
I was reminded of this recently by Richard, a fellow Englishman, who is marketing a range of giant ceramic pots, so large that they cannot be thrown or spun, but are crafted into molds by traditional methods, covered with a ceramic glaze and then fired in a wood-burning furnace. Beautiful and unique. Richard writes:
“I would appreciate any thoughts you might have about where I can research the best plants for these sorts of pots. I am particularly interested in aquatic plants that can survive outside [in] this climate.”
As far as I am aware, there is no single book that deals exclusively with water-loving plants, but William Warren’s Tropical Garden Plants (Thames and Hudson) has a section on the topic. So here is my own threepenn’orth.
The shape of the container is absolutely crucial. Many of Richard’s pots are vase-shaped – either broadly oval, or more slender in style. Consequently, the rims are much narrower than the main body, so one has to consider plants that require relatively little surface space and which will, by growing tall, gracefully complement the design of the container.
One obvious choice is the water canna (thalia geniculata), a plant with elegant reed-like stems and bright green, large, ovate leaves that appear at the sides and tops of the stalks.
Grown mainly for its foliage, the water canna also produces dangling clusters of mauve flowers on elongated stems well above the leaves. A particularly attractive variety has reddish stalks and veining on the foliage.
Thalia geniculata will grow completely immersed in water, and is best established by being rooted in the glutinous mud sold in most good garden centers. Since it will rise four or five feet above its container, it will not look out of place in a large jar or vase-shaped pot with a relatively narrow rim. Moreover, it loves full sun. Witness the water canna’s presence on the front patios of many Thai homes. The only downside is that old leaves quickly discolor and will need to be removed with secateurs.
Even more familiar is the lotus, a plant sacred to both Buddhists and Hindus. Like the water canna, it is a sun-worshiper, will grow with its roots submerged in water and does best when constrained by a narrow-rimmed pot. While nelumba nucifera will probably not grow above four feet tall, its magnificent buds and flowers – either pink or white – are borne on long stalks some distance above the water.
Given the right muddy conditions, including fertilizer in tablet form, it will bloom repeatedly and produce masses of leaves. Round and vividly green, the leaves are covered with microscopic hairs that cause raindrops to roll off them. A must-have container plant.
Water lilies are probably the best known of all water plants, for the botanical family of nymphaeceae is huge, and its members are familiar presences wherever you hail from. They come in every color of the rainbow, and the spectacular flowers lose nothing in comparison with those of the lotus. But it will only bloom freely, given a sunny location and ample mud around its spreading rootstock.
Since both pads and blooms float on the surface of the water, it requires a very different kind of habitat. In principle, the wider the pot, the better for the lily. And, because the flowers are low to the water, the vessel needs to be at or near ground level to achieve maximum visual impact. No wonder the water lily is the preferred choice of pond owners everywhere.
Tip of the week – Trace Elements and Healthy Plants
Every gardener understands that plants, like humans, require nutrients to stay alive and well. The three main needs are for nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium(K).
These are present in the soil, especially top soil, and in additional material such as
compost or chicken manure.
In addition, plants may require monthly applications of fertilizer, which is normally obtained in granular or liquid (more expensive) form, and is most commonly available as an equal balance of the three main minerals (15/15/15 ).
But that is not the end of the story: trace elements in minute quantities – boron, manganese, iron or zinc assist healthy growth. Happily, they are usually present in rich soil. Plants lacking these elements, especially in pots, may reveal their absence by yellowing foliage or stunted growth. They should benefit from a top dressing of humus-rich soil, manure or compost.
If you have a question or a garden that you would like featured, you can email the author here.
— Patrick Campbell
Give your stretch marks a makeover – the tattoo solution
Stretch marks, we’ve all seen them and many of us have a few. Both men and women can be affected. But Inked In Asia has a possible solution.
Stretch marks are a natural indication that your body is growing and changing. It can be said that it’s your body’s way of ‘celebrating’ your growth – many would disagree.
They are part of many people’s lives so why not turn them into works of art with a stretch mark tattoo. Stretch marks are nothing to be ashamed of so let’s give them a tattoo make-over.
When elastin fibers and collagen tear during weight gain, pregnancy or even puberty, the skin’s color and texture is damaged forever. Stretch marks can fade from when they first appear, but they might leave behind mildly indented streaks that won’t return to the original smooth skin.
Some treatments and creams can help by improving the colour of the stretch marks or promoting collagen growth, but there is no true way to get rid of these unsightly blemishes. Trying to get damaged skin to fill out and return to its original colour is very difficult, even for the best dermatologist.
A new trend is the covering up stretch marks with tattoos. Now a normal ‘cover up tattoo’ consists of going over an existing tattoo with new ink, adding or completely changing the original tattoo.
But there’s another solution to those that want a more subtle approach which can be used to disguise some stretch marks.
The technique of matching the skins natural tone by mixing tattoo ink, is more of an art than a scientific process. People’s skin has a dynamic range of colours from reds, yellows, browns and greys and getting the exact tone needs expert evaluation and technique. The tattooing then begins, hiding and disguising stretch marks and giving confidence back to clients.
Click HERE to contact Inked In Asia’s Tattoo Studio to arrange a FREE consultation appointment and discuss your stretch mark tattoo make-over.
Thong Dee, the Kathu Brasserie loved by foodies and Phuket locals
The Thaiger was invited to a special ‘taster’ at one of our favourite restaurants on the island of Phuket, Thong Dee. As usual, the food spoke for itself – no fuss, classy, so so tasty, eclectic. The Thaiger was a guest of the hosts Patrik and Ponchan for the evening.
Thong Dee – The Kathu Brasserie, located in Kathu in a quiet soi less than 15 min drive from Patong or Phuket Town has become a popular go-to foodie destination, away from the hustle and bustle of Phuket. The atmosphere at Thong Dee is certainly friendly and relaxed but also chic and stylish. The restaurant offers open-air dining where locals and visitors comfortably sit and watch the tiny world of Kathu go by.
The restaurant is currently ranked #1 on TripAdvisor (April 2019), undoubtedly a favourite for foodies looking for quality in a breezy brasserie which doesn’t burn their wallets. But the journey to finding this perfect balance was certainly not a smooth one.
Established on the 25th December 2010, married couple Patrik Lundgren, from Sweden, and Phonchan Chiarram, originally from the Buriram province, opened “Thong Dee Restaurant & Bar”, literally meaning “Good Gold” in Thai, a colloquial expression that better translates as “Good Quality”.
Thong Dee began as only a dream for the two. Phonchan already owned her own bar at only 21 and Patrik always considered himself a devout foodie. He was the one to make the bold decision to become restaurateurs. With the help of Patrik’s mother, the couple, with their love for F&B and strong entrepreneurial spirit, made that dream into reality.
“I consider myself a genuine foodie and always had a huge passion for food. I rather have a big bill from a fabulous restaurant then a trendy nightclub” – Patrik
Phonchan never had any formal training as a Chef but with Patrik’s belief in her skills and Patrik’s mother’s training, Phonchan started in her own restaurant as the cook. Here she not only had the opportunity to develop her delicious family recipes but began experimenting with Western and European cuisine.
The menu opened with 80 % percent Thai food until Patrik realised it was an already over-saturated market. “We had to be different from that “green curry” you can eat anywhere in Phuket”. Over the next 6 years the restaurant went through huge changes, both in layout and in menu.
Through the first stages, they enlisted the talents of André, a young chef who worked in France & Scandinavia at Michelin fine dining establishments, most notably, at Restaurant Kiin Kiin in Copenhagen. It was from him that Phonchan learned the fundamentals of fine dining, such as mise en place and creating stocks and sauces.
“He also taught me about the art of plating and classic dishes from French cuisine as well as fusion creations” – Phonchan
In 2016 they partnered up with an experienced Irish chef, from whom they learned about the strict operations of running a restaurant and creating a positive flow in the kitchen.
“He also taught me a lot form the European and English kitchen, such as the Sunday roasts, chicken liver parfait and desserts” – Phonchan.
The couple found their groove through their own culinary explorations, research and development combined with the knowledge of experienced chefs.
“…almost all of the dishes on our menu are different from how I learned from the start, both in Thai cuisine and European. I discovered in the world of cooking, all dishes can be made from the chef’s own interpretation.” – Phonchan
Patrik describes the cuisine at Thong Dee in detail as – “European with French, English & Swedish influences in addition to authentic Thai dishes with premium main ingredients.”
You will find Patrik at the front of house being the charismatic host, paying close attention to detail and customers’ every need. Thong Dee’s client’s range from local expat families and friends looking for a taste of home, and tourists looking for finer Thai food and good wines to match. Thong Dee has also become a favourite spot for local F&B industry management staff.
People flock from around the Island and even globally to experience Phonchan’s signature Thai duck dishes, even stews and Swedish meatballs. The also offer ever-changing weekly specials. Their Sunday Roast is also a drawcard, that attracts playful groups and families looking for a wide variety of succulent roast meats.
In the future, Thong Dee are considering to expand into Phuket Town, where the offering will be much more focused on classic European Brasserie cuisine, with starters, salads and steaks and a high value wine list and of course, the same friendly service in a stylish and relaxed atmosphere.
Reservations now open for ‘Twinpalms MontAzure’ with enticing promotions
Celebrate the grand opening of Phuket’s newest beachside hotel by booking now to snap up fantastic deals. Twinpalms MontAzure in Kamala is offering irresistible packages ideal for both short and long-haul getaways for those who book directly from their website.
Guests may choose to enjoy three nights and pay for just two and for those who are looking to book a longer holiday, stay for six nights and pay only three on all Penthouses and Suite types. Guests may book from now until November 30, 2019, for stays from July 1 to 19 December 2019.
The latest addition to the Twinpalms Hotels & Resorts portfolio is set directly on Kamala Beach, on Phuket’s popular west coast and will welcome its first guests in July 2019. A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the boutique beach hotel offers beautifully appointed Penthouses and Private Pool Suites and a collection of stunning Suites.
Suites range in size from 70m2 to splendid Penthouses with private pools and sea views boasting large living spaces of up to 300m2. Guests will also enjoy using a lap pool or an infinity pool offering views of the Andaman sea.
Adding to the collection of fantastic places to be on Phuket, Twinpalms MontAzure will launch its beachside restaurant and lounge, ‘Shimmer’, with uninterrupted sea views. Shimmer restaurant will serve vibrant and tasty food with an Asian focus, delicious and creative cocktails, and a great wine list, all served with the customary gusto and flair expected from the Twinpalms brand.
Designed by Martin Palleros, following the original Twinpalms concept and style, of utilising Phuket’s beautiful landscape, Martin has allowed the design to maximise the sea views from most of the Suites and areas within the buildings, whilst also ensuring the preservation of the views of the mountainside from other perspectives.
Guests of Twinpalms MontAzure also have access by complimentary transport to the brand’s other dining and entertainment destinations, taking full advantage of the three beautiful beaches Twinpalms has a presence on.
HQ Beach Lounge, a few steps away on Kamala Beach, Catch Beach Club, Catch Junior and Palm Seaside, located on Bang Tao Beach and of course, the flagship resort, Twinpalms Phuket is just a few steps from Surin Beach.
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