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Phuket Gardening: A holy trinity of jasmines

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Gardening: A holy trinity of jasmines | The Thaiger

PHUKET: What do the following tropical plants have in common? Jasminum, buddleia paniculata, gardenia, murraya, plumeria, wrightia, fiddlewood, alstonia, michelia alba, cestrum nocturnum. Well, actually they have two points of similarity. One, they are all white flowering shrubs or trees; two, they are all sweet-smelling.

I have placed the jasmine first in the above list because, along with the lotus, it is the most revered flower in Southeast Asia. The national flower of both the Philippines and Indonesia, in Thailand jasmine is an essential accompaniment to most religious ceremonies, festivals and celebrations.

A symbol of motherhood, its price rockets skywards on Mother’s Day, when a kilo of flower buds will fetch 1000 baht instead of the usual 200. Perhaps it is significant that these jasmine buds form the topmost section of our floral garland. For this purpose, they have to be picked at night or in the early morning before they open and start to lose their heady aroma.

The genus is large, with some 200 species, and surprisingly, true jasmines are a member of the olive or oleaceae brigade. However, there are not only many sub-species, but an increasing number of cultivars. To complicate things still further, jasmines have been re-classified botanically, and some, previously allotted to the jasminum family, have been sent elsewhere.

But make no mistake, the one we are talking about, jasminum sambac or Arabian jasmine, is the real deal. Ask any Thai what dok mali is, and they will know – instantly. It features in most Thai gardens and hails not from Arabia but from right here.

The shrub’s appearance is not that spectacular, with smallish white blooms and oval evergreen foliage. It grows six or eight feet tall, and will tolerate a range of conditions including semi-shade, though it is averse to drought. It is propagated from seed or better, from cuttings. Currently, I am trying a couple out as house-plants, but I expect to give them the occasional outdoor reprieve.

Most hybrids, like the species, bear single blooms at the branch tips and leaf axils. “Maid of Orleans” has widely flared flowers, “Belle of India” significantly longer petals. “Grand Duke of Tuscany” has double flowers which give a rose or gardenia-like appearance. There is, however, some loss of scent.

Jasminum sambac will not only fill your evening garden with delicious aromas, it will pervade your house. The essential oil from the flowers, made from soaking the buds on cotton sheets with olive oil, provides one of the classic fragrances in soaps and perfumes. And the flowers, blended with green tea leaves, give us jasmine tea.

What a star!

Jasminum officinale is not quite in the same league. But in fairness, its popular name of common jasmine is, I suspect, a reference to the fact that it is cultivated worldwide.

It was one of two jasmine varieties I was able to grow in London (the other was yellow winter jasmine or nudiflorum). It is a sprawling and somewhat twining deciduous shrub which can attain a considerable size. The flowers are often pink-tinged and the leaves are pinnate, consisting of a number of slender leaflets.

But the jasmine smell is unmistakably present, and in temperate climes can provide an exotic aroma during the summer months.

Last but not least in this trinity of jasmines is the jasminum rex. Royally named, the paan yii is also a climber with large ovate leaves, and two or three slender, star-shaped flowers with a deep center at the end of each vine.

Pure white, of course, it has the largest flowers of any jasmine – usually eight petals. Given moist conditions, it will bloom prolifically.

Sadly, the flowers possess little or no scent. Pulchritude or perfume? Up to you…

Tip of the week – Fortification through thornication
Armored shrubs are totally unsuitable for play areas, but they are great as deterrents.

Hawthorn hedges are still used in Britain to stop livestock invading adjacent fields of crops. The London police even issued a list of thorny plants to help protect homes from would-be burglars.

In Phuket, the home guard list is longer – no hawthorn, pyracantha (left), thunbergia, blackberry or brambles, but many others. The crown of thorns (euphorbia milii) won’t make a decent hedge, but rows of pots will form an effective barrier.

The bougainvillea (right) can be used in the same way, but is such a vigorous and dense shrub that it will rapidly form a hedge capable of being clipped. And the vicious spines, unlike the euphorbia’s, are mostly hidden beneath the foliage.

Azima tetracantha (needle bush) is very thorny, as is the Chinese jujube (zizyphus sativa). Both pigeon berry and kaffir limes sometimes have spiny stems.

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

Keep checking our online Phuket Lifestyle pages or join our Facebook fan page 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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