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    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.


    Passing the smell test

    Brunch, 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.


    From the ground up

    Brunch, 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.


    Don’t leave it in distress

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 06/11/2016

    » Deeporne Beardsley wrote from Tucson, Arizona, to say that she and her husband are volunteers in a local university hydroponics greenhouse. “Today, the abbot of Wat Buddhametta, Ajarn Saraut, showed me two potted bodhi trees and asked why the leaves of one were turning yellow,” she wrote.


    Space invaders

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 02/08/2015

    » What’s in a name? It may not sound funny to you, but I find it amusing how American lawmakers could waste so much time and energy, not to mention taxpayers’ money, deliberating over what to call a fish. Last year, Senator Bill Hoffman of Minnesota was concerned that the name “Asian carp” was “hurtful” and “offensive” to some people so he sought to change the name to “invasive carp”. And guess what, the Minnesota Senate approved the bill.


    Visiting thewet's forgotten delights

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 27/10/2013

    » In the past, when plant lovers and gardening enthusiasts wanted to spend some money on all things green, they either went to the Weekend Market at Sanam Luang or the Thewet market in the Dusit area. Thewet had an advantage as the row of permanent stalls along Khlong Phadung Krung Kasem, from the intersection of Sam Sen and Krung Kasem roads to the end of the soi just a stone's throw from the Thewet pier, was open every day. A few years after the Weekend Market was moved from Sanam Luang to Chatuchak, it was decided that separate days would be devoted to the plant market. Now nursery owners and plant lovers swarm to Chatuchak every Wednesday and Thursday, while Thewet seems to have been forgotten.


    The mysteries of nature's majesty

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 23/12/2012

    » I was browsing the internet when I came across a poem written in 1913 by Alfred Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918). Titled Trees, it transported me back to my high school days, bringing back to mind a young version of myself reciting it in front of the class as our teacher in English literature, Miss Benita Maquinto, listened intently as she stood by the classroom window. I have written several articles about trees, but forgotten all about that poem, but as soon as I read the first line all the words came rushing back to me.


    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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