I need some colour today and came upon this image when randomly perusing my photo archives. Doesn’t it look like fallen Autumn leaves?
I took this photo in Thailand, at the Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhon Herbal Garden in Rayong. Tropical trees are not my strong suit; however, I am pretty sure that what you are looking at are the discarded stamens of a Royal Poinciana (Delonix regia) tree. I suppose they could also be fallen Red Powder Puff flowers (Calliandra haematocephala), but the close up photos I took indicate otherwise.
Looking back at the photos I took during our short visit to the garden, nearly all of them are of strange and unidentifiable oddities that were either up in the trees or fallen on the ground.
Later, at the gift shop, I bought some corn milk (one of several interesting beverages that I sampled on the trip) and was gifted a tomato face mask by a fellow garden writer also on the tour.
I’ve just added several photos of things I bought in Thailand to the You Grow Girl Flickr stream.
Towards the end of our Thailand excursion, we flew to Chiang Mai, a northern city that is situated in the mountains. It was the part of the trip I was most looking forward to and turned out to be the city (next to Bangkok) that I would be most interested in revisiting to explore further.
Our second destination in Chiang Mai (after the Orchid Farm and lunch) was the Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden. Unfortunately, we were allotted a paltry 40 minutes to explore the gardens and greenhouses of this expansive botanical attraction. Note to media tour operators: garden writers require ample time to explore botanical gardens! Imagine a time frame and then double it. No, triple it. Actually, just give us the entire day.
The race was on to see as much as possible before being called back onto the bus. Because time was precious, I chose to focus on a few of the greenhouses and forgo the outdoor gardens. Before heading into the first greenhouse I took in a field of large bowl ponds. Each pond housed a different tropical water lily, in an astonishing array of leaf and flower shapes, sizes, and colours. I had no idea there were so many different types!
Nymphaea ‘Chalong Kwan’
I’ve decided to take another shot at Wordless Wednesdays, and have failed. How can I leave it without words?
I saw these orchids several times through our Thailand trip, and naturally referred to them as “Fried Egg Orchids.” I think the reason is fairly obvious.
Before posting here I did a quick search for “Fried Egg Orchid” and wouldn’t you know it, that’s what other people call them, too! Dendrobium thyrsiflorum if you’re being botanically correct.
I came upon this gorgeous Passiflora trifasciata on my first day in Thailand and was completely floored by it. I had no idea that such a gem existed. The leaves look like big bird feet!
Passiflora is known primarily for its gorgeous flowers and deliciously exotic fruit. The leaves have a nice shape, but I find them to be a bit boring overall. I had never seen one before this that is clearly all about the foliage. When given a choice, I tend to favour foliage over flowers. Flowers come and go, but interesting foliage holds your interest almost indefinitely, depending on the plant (and your climate). Being short on space, I prefer to keep plants that give me something to look at for longer periods of time. Ugly, ragged stages of plant development don’t hide well when there is no behind-the-scenes area in which to hide them.
Of course, being a plantoholic through and through, I want one. Immediately. I figure if I can tolerate the inconvenience required to overwinter a very large passionfruit vine with pretty flowers but boring leaves in the hallway outside the door of a cramped apartment for three years running, then surely I can keep this one now that I’ve got more space.
And yet another door is opened. Over the weekend I was chatting with a fellow gardener and thrifting friend about how you can find interest in certain collectibles, but you stay away from buying even one because you don’t want to open the floodgates to a new obsession. It’s okay to admire that jug, bowl, or plant from a distance with a certain amount of interested detachment, but inviting one into your home and life is a dangerous first step towards an appearance on the show Hoarders.
Having more space and an evolving mindset has unleashed the Kraken inside of me, so-to-speak. There are so many plants that I am either going back to with a renewed passion, or am allowing myself to try for the first time ever. Friends, these are interesting, albeit dangerous times.
I’m generally not a big-leaved tropicals person. It’s not that I don’t like them, it’s more that I like to see them rather than grow them.
As a city dweller, I’ve never had much garden space available to me. And, well, big-leaved plants are terribly GIGANTIC. They are also tropical, which means they need a warm and humid place to overwinter indoors. My living spaces are small and dry. As a result, I’ve simply opted out of growing these plants. I oooh and awe at them while visiting greenhouses or tropical locals, but I’ve always managed to keep a mental distance from them. These are plants for looking and looking only.
And then I went to Thailand.
A lush balcony garden in Bangkok.
From the glittery, tiled temples to the lush, statuesque plants, everything in Thailand is BIG and FABULOUS. Even in a congested metropolis like Bangkok, the Thai people still manage to find the space to go big. Now there is no excuse left and I want to go big, too.