Friday, November 27, 2009

plant envy

The Chatuchak Park complex is the green space just beyond the overpass. X marks the Sun Tower office complex where Lauchie worked for a several years.

Looking southwest.

Before I start waxing on about plants and gardens, I need to put things in perspective. Clicking through the last few pages of this blog, I see that my bias is building a very unbalanced image of Thailand. You might be beginning to think the place is full of gardens, clean open spaces, sea views and historic buildings. I need to set up this post with some urban context. The photos above are taken from the top of Lauchie's building in Lat Phrao. Skyscrapers as far as the eye can see. To get a feel for the density, go to this map and scroll around. Imagine deafening traffic sounds and a beating hot sun reflecting off of every surface. Parks are few and concrete is the hands-down winner in the most acres covered category. Despite the heat and pollution, the plants struggle up through every gap in the pavement and with the slightest bit of encouragement they can produce magnificent blooms. Yesterday I strolled through Chatuchak Park and marveled at the tropical plants. The variety and hardiness of these growing things is incredible. Too bad I can't take these back and make them work in Zone 1.

Several Parks make up the Chatuchak Park complex. And yes the water really does look that brown.

I know it's ho-hum for you southeners, but It's always a bit mind blowing for us snow people to see houseplants turned into bedding plants.

A curtain of aerial roots hung down from the branches of this tree.

The graphic and fragrant Frangipani.

Long suffering Bougainvillea thrives everywhere.

These three plants must be the holy triumvirate of the tropical landscaper's toolkit. Every boulevard seems to sport a swath of it. The dark green one will grow over anything, turning vertical concrete into living walls.
Here they are set out as a border.

And here's the green one trained into a topiary elephant.

What in the heck is this? The fruits looked liked cannonballs...

and it had long strips of buds on scary looking branches.

The downside of all of this tremendous growth is the leaf matter which falls constantly. (Just think of it Dad, raking season never ever ends.) Parks employ armies of sweepers who constantly clean up after these messy trees and beat the jungle back into submission.


rachel said...

Well, how interesting to see your lovely photos, and to observe Nature fighting back. I love how our mollycoddled and temperamental house plants are really just thugs when they're in their own natural habitat!

judy in ky said...

This is fascinating! I remember being amazed at all the giant "houseplants" the first time I visited Hawaii.