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  • LIFESTYLE

    Not just the bee's knees

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 24/07/2016

    » Following the column on pollination two weeks ago, regular reader Bob Neylon wrote from Pattaya to say that he had a small vegetable garden as well as many fruit trees and shrubs. A couple of years ago, he bought a hive of the stingless variety of bees from the local agriculture department to pollinate his plants. "They have been OK but no real big deal," he wrote.

  • LIFESTYLE

    The best way to turn over that new leaf

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 03/01/2016

    » I have a young friend who lives in Fresno, California. She teaches science in high school but does volunteer work in her spare time, taking a group of elderly people to a public park to do gardening. “There are plots in the park where the elderly can plant flowers or vegetables,” she said when we talked on the phone recently. “They love it. They find it invigorating. Growing plants has given them a new purpose in life.”

  • LIFESTYLE

    A taste for fine vines

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 15/03/2015

    » For more than seven years Chris Kaye had a beautiful Rangoon creeper on a trellis in front of his house some 20km south of Pattaya. “It has done remarkably well, producing copious fragrant flowers with virtually no special care,” he wrote. “Watering relied only on rainfall. Over the last two months it has completely died for no obvious reason. I cannot see any insects or grubs that may have killed it.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Sweet tips for sour trees

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 15/02/2015

    » The recently concluded agricultural fair at Kasetsart University might not be the much-awaited event it used to be for agriculturists and fair-goers from all over the country. However, I go every year anyway as there are always new plants to see. Lek Monchai’s lime hybrid, for example, was not even registered. Making its debut at the fair, he had not even decided what to name it.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Casuarina and effects

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 23/02/2014

    » For some people, the mention of “sun, sea and sand” calls to mind a clear blue sea and a beach fringed by coconut fronds. For others, it evokes having a picnic or lazing the day away by the sea under the shade of a casuarina tree. The truth is that the former is a sight common only in travel brochures; from Rayong in the East down to Phuket in the South, it is Casuarina equisetifolia, commonly known as ironwood or horsetail casuarina (son talay in Thai) that is an integral part of Thai coastal areas. There are more casuarinas on Thai beaches than coconuts.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Terrace chants, The best place to buy balcony plants

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 18/08/2013

    » Nigel Sellman has a large balcony, just over 20 square metres, and would like to make it green. "I would prefer foliage plants, but with some flowering ones mixed in, especially if they attract bees, butterflies or birds," he wrote. "I would like a small tree or large shrub at either end of the balcony, maybe a citrus tree. I'd prefer native species, but I'm not going to be restricted to them.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Weed out your worries by gardening in new year

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 06/01/2013

    » How time flies! It seems like only yesterday when 2012 started, now another year has begun. What does this new year have in store us? Will it bring peace to the world, or more political turmoil? Will the world economic situation be better, or worse? Will mother nature be more benevolent, or bring stronger storms and even more floods?

  • LIFESTYLE

    The secrets of citrus

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 28/10/2012

    » Having a fruit-bearing lime, lemon or calamondin tree is like having a kitchen herb garden. It is very convenient to just pick a fruit or two if and whenever you need it to prepare a dish or refreshing drink. However, what would you do if you had a five-year-old tree that does not produce fruit?

  • LIFESTYLE

    There's more than one way to weed out a problem

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 16/09/2012

    » Weeds are the bane of a gardener's existence. Whether you are planting vegetables, ornamental plants, fruit trees or even a lawn, weeds rear their ugly heads, so please excuse me if I continue weeding while we talk. It is a labour-intensive and back-breaking endeavour, but there's no safer way to get rid of these unwanted plants.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Hard to find trees turn up full of flavour

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 25/03/2012

    » A reader named Malcolm wrote me an email to say that he is now the proud owner of a 10m fruit-bearing black sapote (Diospyros digyna). He said he grew it from a seed that he obtained from a tropical fruit farm in Australia 10 years ago.

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