I am not going to turn the blog into a site for gardeners so this will be the last update for a little while. I know from the comments from the last garden post HERE that there are some readers who enjoy following the development of a new tropical garden so for that reason and the fact there has a lot of progress over the last couple of weeks I decided to publish this latest story. I have a lot of other insights on Isaan life to share with you so you can expect a few posts on other topics shortly.
The main focus on the new 1,000 sq mtr block of land we bought in December last year was the main pergola seating area and upgrading the landscaping for the rest of the land, especially getting hundreds of new plants into the ground to fill up the empty spaces. This post covers the week’s progress from 29 Jan to 5 Feb:
29 January 2018
After a lot of uncertainty I finally decided to use these small locally made bricks for the paving. We actually went into Udon Thani to buy concrete pavers. As we about to order them Gaun spotted that the garden place had used these bricks for their own paving and pointed them out to me. I not only liked them but at less than half the cost it was an easy decision.
Each brick is completely individual with some wonderful colours. They cost 1.5 baht each ($0.06) bought from a husband and wife team supplied and hand stacked for free.
Just out of interest Thai paint is charged in two components being the the base paint and then the tinting. The cost of tint varies wildly. The colour we used for the house is called Pearl White and costs 24 baht for 9 litres of base, which is cheap at around 600 – 700 baht. However if you head into vivid colours like my brick red expect to pay 900 – 1,500 baht FOR THE TINTING!!!
In reality my back and knees are killing me and the arthritis in my wrists is wondering what the hell I am doing. I could employ someone to do this job but I would miss out on the satisfaction of achieving something that I created. That pot was found in the only decent up market garden supply place that I have seen in Isaan. A lot of their items are newish but left outside to weather and look ancient.
Tomorrow the edges of the path will be concreted so that everything stays in place especially with the torrential rain we get in the wet season. Thankfully someone else is doing that and I can fall back to my supervising role!
Some side things happening in these following photos.
In Australia if you wanted a load of materials delivered under a tree that restricted the tilt the guy would probably tell you to find another spot. Here the delivery guy lifted the tray as far as the mango allowed and then hopped up to unload by hand. No muttering or sad faces he just got on with it. It took him 20 minutes and as the delivery fee was $4.00 a contribution to some whisky was appreciated.
The area the truck is in will be a utility area with a covered clothes drying area (essential in the long wet season), storage for garden things and a plant nursery for Gaun. It will all be hidden by a high hedge.
That tree in the background – photo above – is a mango and like most of them this year after a proper wet season it is covered in flowers. A huge crop in the making for any of you mango fans out there.
31 January 2018
End of the day and workman free with the main area completed. Has to be worth celebrating.
1 February 2018
It’s the little things that add interest. Today Gaun landscaped the washbasin and I add a couple of touches and we now have both a feature and a useful addition to the garden.
2 February 2018
Today has been a pot day. Firstly we drove 40 minutes to an area that specialises in terracotta pots, mostly made and fired locally. I was after some for a spot in the garden and Gaun picked up some unplanned extras. We were also after more plants.
One the way back we saw some of the large water storage pots (“ong” in Thai) that had obviously recently been moved into position. As I have been frustrated in finding anyone to transport the three pots I have on standby in the village to our new land we stopped to see if we could get a contact number.
In true Thai fashion it wasn’t that easy. The guy told us where we could find the contractor so we drove there and after asking two people found his house. He wasn’t there but his mum was. She told us he was off selling sugarcane at the local weightstation. She didn’t know his phone number. We called in at the sugar collection point but he had already left. Luckily someone knew his number but when he called he told us he was busy with sugar and couldn’t help us until April!!!! Square one.
The Thais who knew of my efforts to contact a pot mover (phoning builders, notices on the side of the road, checking with locals) told me that I just needed to relax (sabai sabai) and that eventually someone would come through the village advertising on loudspeakers. If not this week then next, if not this month then……….
Well, evidently my road signage paid hit the jackpot because a contractor was passing looking for work, spotted the sign at the family home and spoke to Gaun’s mama. She got hold of my stepdaughter Peng who tried to contact Gaun on the mobile but couldn’t get a reply (not unusual). Mama sent the contractor round to our place while Peng walked there just as I was opening the gate as I saw her coming. Peng pointed up the road – “ong” coming! One hour later and 1,200 baht ($48.00) I have three pots in the new garden and am a happy man. Thanks Peng and mama.
This will be an avenue of golden palms leading from the pergola area to the pot with two fan palms framing it. Floodlit at night. The plants on the left haven’t been able to be put in the ground until the pot arrived. We can now finish off the rest of the garden that was in the “flightpath” of the pot delivery. Yes, I know that pot is slightly tilted. It will be corrected 🙂
The smaller pot will be filled with lilies once they come back into season.
A reader of my blog kindly shared a link for a magnificent tropical garden in Queensland, Australia. It is exactly the theme that I am trying to reproduce with ours. If I can get even slightly close to this one I will be happy man. Worth a look HERE.
Needless to say work continues in the garden to settle the big waterpots into place. They have really made such a difference. New paths and plants have gone in to start the development of the areas waiting for the delivery of the pots.
Gaun is the powerhouse behind this achievement and all of the credit goes to her. HOWEVER I wanted to claim to have done something so I had two avocado bushes waiting to be planted and this was my moment. If you do visit I will take you to this spot to proudly show you my efforts 🙂
I have a medical situation that means I can’t lift or dig ATM so Gaun dug the previous hole for me and then rushed off to get the camera and capture the moment!!!!! She is one of a kind. I DID actually manage to backfill the hole 🙂
And just to finish off visiting a different garden. We haven’t been out to the family farm in a little while so when we called in today it was lovely to see that the bougainvillea has taken a new lease of life and shows no sign of stopping flowering. Stunning colours.
Thank you for reading and please leave a comment if you enjoyed your time in our new garden 🙂