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  • LIFE

    Embracing bee season

    B Magazine, 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?

  • LIFE

    The agony andthe ecstasy

    B Magazine, Normita Thongtham, Published on 15/05/2016

    » I was ecstatic when I saw fruits hanging for the first time from the branches of my Pouteria campechiana tree, otherwise known as canistel or eggfruit. It is called lamut khamen in Thai but actually few Thais know it, and even fewer have tasted it. I suspect that the first tree grown in Thailand came from the seed of a fruit taken from across the border in Cambodia, and the grower named it "lamut khamen" after the country or its people (khamen is the Thai word for Cambodian), as he did not know its proper name.

  • LIFE

    Passing the smell test

    B Magazine, Normita Thongtham, Published on 17/04/2016

    » Ten years ago, Kriepob Limkangwalmongkol wrote to say that Phuket, where he lived, had many Chinese Taoist temples and they burned quite a lot of mai juang, or theptaro wood, to cleanse the atmosphere during their numerous ceremonies, especially during the annual vegetarian festival.

  • LIFE

    Petal compositions

    B Magazine, Normita Thongtham, Published on 18/12/2016

    » The recent "Dok Mai Haeng Rachan" exhibition at Siam Paragon was a most fitting tribute to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. And no floral arrangement could have lived up to the theme of the exhibition, literally meaning "the King's flowers", better than a photo of the late King in full regalia surrounded by a sea of dried flowers.

  • LIFE

    From the ground up

    B Magazine, Normita Thongtham, Published on 13/11/2016

    » Last week's column about a sick bodhi tree in the yard of a temple in Tucson, Arizona, reminded me of a letter from Murray Thomas last April seeking advice on the cultural requirements of the edible creeper Piper sarmentosum, known in Thai as cha plu.

  • LIFE

    The strength of the land

    B Magazine, Normita Thongtham, Published on 23/10/2016

    » I once wrote an article about His Majesty the King's Royal Project for an information and policy studies institute in London, which commissioned me to write about development issues in this part of the world.

  • LIFE

    Nurturing fruits of your labour

    B Magazine, 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.

  • LIFE

    Nature’s air conditioners

    B Magazine, Normita Thongtham, Published on 10/01/2016

    » While I was writing this, extreme weather was wreaking havoc in many parts of the world. In South America, vast areas in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay were hit in what was said to be the “worst flooding in 50 years”. Deadly tornadoes, snowstorms and floods brought winter woes to Texas, Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma, Arkansas and several other states in the US Midwest and South, and record-breaking rains brought floods that devastated parts of northern England and Scotland.

  • LIFE

    Where mountains meet sea

    B Magazine, Normita Thongtham, Published on 27/09/2015

    » Reader Petchsuporn Rapley lives in Chiang Mai, which is hundreds of kilometres from the nearest coastline. However, this has not stopped her from enjoying trees that are commonly seen only in mangrove forests, associated with estuary and coastal areas. In her garden in Doi Saket, she grows mangrove trees in containers.

  • LIFE

    A taste for fine vines

    B Magazine, 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.

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