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Phuket Gardening – Wattle it be, mate?

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Gardening – Wattle it be, mate? | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Ask any Australian gardener about the Acacia and they will either look puzzled, or reply: “Aw, you mean a wattle, mate”.

And they should know, because these ornamental trees come mostly from Oz. To confuse things further, the Acacia used to be classified in the genus of Mimosa, and in Mediterranean regions is still referred to by this name. In Thailand it is known as kratin-narong.

It is a huge genus, with over 1200 species of which 900 or so are natives of Australia.”Rare Plants”, a commercial web-site, sells more than fifty varieties.

Most wattles are large shrubs or small trees, so they fit nicely into our current category. But some are definitely not suitable for a Phuket garden, notably “thorn trees” of the African grasslands. Such trees are characterized by flat-topped crowns, and spines so large and sharp they deter even the hungriest browser.

All pretty hardy, acacias are legumes, so they have the knack of producing their own nitrogen by taking it from the air and converting it to soil nitrogen, the most valuable of plant nutrients.

This means that acacias can not only survive in poor conditions, but can help improve soil quality, thus making them useful for restoring vegetation on denuded areas.

Not only are they useful, but they are also ornamental. Most varieties produce spectacular masses of small flowers densely crowded into globular heads, the stamens more conspicuous than the tiny petals.

When on display, they provide a brilliant show of golden yellow blossom. A few have white or cream inflorescences, but the vast majority are indeed golden. Unsurprisingly, they are much in demand among florists.

Most Acacias come from sub-tropical and semi-arid regions, so they require well-drained soil. However, Phuket’s fully exposed sun may be a bit much, so planting in semi-shade is recommended. If you want to cultivate one in a pot, make sure there is sand in the mix.

Where to start? Acacia acinacea, more a shapely shrub than tree, has attractive arching branches, and the familiar, dramatic globular heads of golden flowers. Hence its common reference in Australia, “gold-dust wattle”. Acacia adunca is larger up to twenty feet tall with sweetly scented ball-shaped flowers borne on long sprays. Smaller varieties include Amoena, which has pale yellow blooms on short but dramatic sprays, and the bushy cincinnata. Hickory wattle Buxifolia, or box-leaf wattle, occurs naturally along the eastern Australian coast, and is perhaps the most widely grown of all. Its grey-green foliage consists of many small leaflets.

But the variation in leaf shape throughout the genus is enormous, ranging from feathered to round and crescent shaped. Also varying is range of size from dwarf and prostrate to full-sized trees.

What all wattles do have in common is the capacity to produce bean-like seed pods; it is from these seeds that new saplings are normally propagated.

There are a few things to remember about Acacias. Most of them are fast growing, and in some environments, they have become invasive. Some are whoppers: the black wattle (decurrens) will reach fifty feet, Acacia mangium is bigger. So choose an acacia which will not end up dominating your garden. Unless, of course, you have a palatial acreage.

Wattles do not take kindly to hard pruning, since this causes gum exudation, and opens the way for insect and fungal attack. Leaf fall is more-or-less continuous. And bear in mind that these are shrubs and trees from dry environments. Over-watering is not something they appreciate. After all, like the rest of us, they will have to cope with the rainy season.

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

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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