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  • News & article

    All I need is the air that I breathe

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 20/11/2016

    » 'Please introduce air plant farms in the Bangkok area," an email I received recently requested. I am sure there are hobbyists growing air plants in their gardens or balconies, but because of high land prices, I doubt it if there are plant nurseries in Bangkok. Be that as it may, I went to my favourite haunt, the Chatuchak midweek market, last Wednesday to ask around.

  • News & article

    Clearing the air

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 18/09/2016

    » I posted a photo of a plant on Facebook and was pleased with the interest that it aroused among some friends. "What is it?" several asked. "Is it aloe vera? Is it malunggay [maroom in Thai]?"

  • News & article

    Xerophytes win water fights

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 22/05/2016

    » May is almost at an end. Usually around this time, our friends Bantherng and his wife Phen are busy harvesting lychee in their orchard in Phetchabun. This year, however, not one of their more than 100 trees bore fruit. In fact, not one lychee tree in their district of Nam Nao, some 40km from Nam Nao National Park, had fruit this year.

  • News & article

    Embracing bee season

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 31/07/2016

    » I was standing on the veranda of our country home when I noticed a swarm of little white butterflies milling around the canopy of a rainbow eucalyptus. The tree was in bloom, and as I watched the butterflies fluttering from flower to flower, I could not help but marvel at the wonders of nature. Where did the butterflies come from? Other plants were in bloom as well, but why were they only attracted to this particularly tree? I had no doubt in my mind that the flowers were also pollinated by bees and other insects, but why were they visited by only one kind of butterfly?

  • News & article

    If you can stand the heat

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 01/05/2016

    » It's especially hot, of course, in Thailand during the summer months. But judging from the way Cassia fistula is blooming heavily this year, this summer has been even hotter than previous years.

  • News & article

    Exploring the world garden

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 05/06/2016

    » During my visit to the Philippines two months ago, a good friend of mine gave me a bag of pistachio nuts which her sister, Pin, had sent her from the US. Pin and her family live in Delano, California, and she regularly sends food packages that includes pistachio nuts, almonds, dates and raisins to her sister in the Philippines.

  • News & article

    Surviving the desert

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 25/09/2016

    » In last week's Green Fingers, I mentioned that most plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen during the day but sansevierias do just the opposite: They purify and freshen the air at night while we are asleep. How do they do it?

  • News & article

    Nurturing fruits of your labour

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 11/09/2016

    » Many gardeners could not get their plants to bloom, much less bear fruit. Reader Murray Thomas' problem is just the opposite. His potted lime tree is exploding with fruit and more flowers are on the way. "As many as 15 small fruit on a single small branch," he wrote. "The tree is about 1.5 metres tall.

  • News & article

    Why tamarind seems to keep a peeling

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 21/02/2016

    » Regular reader Paul Schiller and his wife Beatrix are long-time residents of Khao Lak in Phangnga, where they seek warmth during the cold winter months in their home country, Austria. They were on holiday in Hua Hin recently when they saw an unfamiliar fruit. “Today in Hua Hin, nobody knows this, I got not even a Thai name,” Mr Schiller wrote in his email asking for help in identifying the said fruit.

  • News & article

    Raising a peep

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 29/11/2015

    » Grant Howlett is an Australian expatriate with a reasonable knowledge of things botanical in his home country. But when it comes to Asian plant life, “alas, I have lots to learn”, he wrote. “I did reside for many years in the tropics of northern Australia, and many plants there are also here, like the foxtail palm which is originally from Australia but now prolific here in Thailand, but when it comes to trees I am lost.”

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