Connect with us

Thai Life

Phuket Gardening: An unkempt piece of paradise

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on 

PHUKET: It is a truism that your garden is an expression of yourself. In a literal sense, this is obvious: you are the person responsible for its design, its maintenance, and for the plants you put in or leave out. When I was an undergraduate long ago, the Professor of Biology, an acknowledged authority on botany, spoke on a weekly BBC radio program called Gardener’s Question Time.

Ironically, his own garden was a neglected wilderness of weeds. So when the “Beeb” wanted to interview him in his own back-yard, he did a deal with his neighbor, the Philosophy Professor, who happened to have a splendid garden. So, in blissful ignorance, the BBC did the outside broadcast in the wrong place. No doubt they said very flattering things about his horticultural prowess.

Your garden, however, reflects your personality in more subtle ways. For instance, my father adored roses and cultivated more than a hundred varieties of hybrid tea rose. He also loved the sheer opulence of closely mown grass. In fact, our lawn occupied about half the total area of the plot.

On the other hand, the kitchen garden was relegated to the back yard, hidden behind a trellis of rambler roses. Looked after by the odd-job man, he always complained he didn’t have enough space to grow what was needed in the “Dig for victory”. Dad certainly loved fresh vegetables, but he found them short on aesthetic appeal.

What does that say about him? That he loved beautiful things, but lacked any practical sense whatsoever. For him opera, books and flowers were prime pleasures; certainly not anything as mindless as sport. Cricket and football were for “flannelled fools and muddied oafs”.

Talk of fox-hunting brought forth a dismissive quotation from Oscar Wilde: “the unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable”. Horse racing, the “sport of kings” left him as cold as a cucumber in its winter frame. As for mending things: when his brother asked where the tool box was, my mother replied he might as well search for the crown jewels.

So what I wonder does my garden say about “yours truly”? Well, for a start, I would find little favor with most Thais who love order: neatly pruned hedges of ixora or duranta, maybe some elegant topiary, carefully arranged flower beds, color-coded borders where all the vibrant colors complement each other. There’s Nothing wrong with any of these ideas. What they all reflect is the desire to bring the human element more into play, to manage and keep in check what could so easily become in tropical conditions a rioting mass of springing vegetation.

By this token I am not a proper gardener. For a start, my garden is far too lush – though overgrown might be a better word. In part, this stems from my dislike of controlling Mother Nature: too much of that goes on already in Phuket and I prefer to let plants go their own way. Of course there is a downside to this. Already some trees have grown too unruly: already I have had to cull a mango and a fiddlewood. My solitary avocado has exceeded all my expectation in terms of growth – though not yet in terms of fruit. The alstonia supports a beautiful climbing purple bignonia, currently in full flower, but it is only a matter of time before its all too solid trunk and rampant roots will begin to undermine the adjacent wall. Both yellow palms and peruvianas have been cut back.

The other quirk of my garden is that it contains too many different foliage and flowering plants. I did this for a reason: namely so I could write in these columns about each and every species from personal experience.

A laudable aim I hope, but one which has meant a rash of varieties crowded together without enough concern for color-coding or coherent planning. Personally I don’t mind this profusion, but I know I’m in a minority – probably of one.

If you have a question or a garden that you would like featured you can email me at: drpaccampbell@gmail.com

— 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:

Thailand3 hours ago

His Majesty the King donates 2.8 billion baht in Covid-19 aid

Coronavirus (Covid-19)4 hours ago

Covid UPDATE Provinces: 14,260 new infections, 119 deaths

Coronavirus (Covid-19)4 hours ago

Vaccination registration open for foreign residents over 60 in Bangkok

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!

Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 hours ago

Autopsy results for woman who died after mixing vaccines

Coronavirus (Covid-19)10 hours ago

Covid UPDATE Saturday: 14,260 new infections, news briefs

Thailand15 hours ago

Department head predicts Covid-19 could last up to another year

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
World17 hours ago

Swedish prison hostage situation resolved with pizza

Thailand18 hours ago

Minister: Foreigners, migrant workers are cared for amid Covid-19

Coronavirus (Covid-19)23 hours ago

“Withhold Intubation” for certain older Thammasat Hospital patients

Coronavirus (Covid-19)23 hours ago

Bang Sue vaccination centre open for expats 60+, under must wait

Coronavirus News & Updates24 hours ago

“Covid-19” deaths said to cause crematorium in Bangkok to partially collapse

Thailand24 hours ago

Nakhon Sawan farmers make large profits growing fingerroot as Covid cure

Coronavirus (Covid-19)1 day ago

Leaked document: military arranging private Moderna vaccines

Thailand1 day ago

Nakhon Si Thammarat arrest drug suspect hiding in jar

Media1 day ago

19 year old man drowns in a Kanchanaburi river while rescuing his puppy

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

Thailand6 months ago

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

Thailand6 months ago

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

Thailand6 months ago

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

Thailand6 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