What is it Like Gardening in Chiang Mai?

My Front Garden June 2015
My Front Garden June 2015

Above, you see what my tiny garden looked like in June 2015. Here’s what it looked like twelve months later:

My Front Garden June 2016
My Front Garden June 2016

And here’s a welcome visitor who has taken up residence, an Oriental Garden lizard. What a beauty!:

Oriental Garden lizard
Oriental Garden Lizard

 

It will soon be breeding season so my lizard is changing from olive brown to bright red. His ability to change color is “almost endless” according to herpetologists and I’m looking forward to watching his metamorphoses.  My guy is 12 inches long – almost fully grown. Very unafraid, he likes to bask in the morning sun then pounce on unwary snails and insects in the garden. After a shower of rain he comes down to the ground and picks up the larva and small insects knocked from the trees by the rain.  The female, so my neighbor says, lays a dozen soft oval eggs, about 5/8 inch long, in hollows of trees or holes in the soil which they have burrowed, afterward covering them up. The young appear in about eight or nine weeks. Oriental Garden Lizards are widely distributed, from Iran to Sri Lanka, so keep an eye out when you’re traveling.

When I moved in a year ago I started to revive the handkerchief-size front garden, turn it green, cover the bare white wall with climbing Gecko vine, and plant something to screen me from the view of the lane in front. The trees behind in the picture me in the top picture were hip-high shrubs when I bought them in January for 60 baht each. The gecko plant (as they’re called here) on the wall in front of me were six inches high back then and the lawn was patchy and brown. A few applications of natural fertilizer and occasional waterings when ‘droughts’ lasted longer than two weeks. Good hoses are unavailable here, but garden shears are cheap and sturdy, about 280 baht. My next project is to build arches across both bays in the front porch. Then, maybe, orchids? Why not, with orchids in full bloom costing about 90 baht?

Gardening Chiang Mai
Where the Orchid Arches Will Go

If you’re at all interested about gardening in Chiang Mai or where to find plants in Chiang Mai, you have to visit Kamthieng Market. An open air market covering several blocks, you can find anything related to gardening and landscaping here, from fountain installations to any type of tropical flower and plant you can imagine.

The market is located off Atsadathon Road, the road going out from the northeast corner of the moat, behind and to the right of the large Tesco Lotus. From the moat, turn right at the light heading toward the Tesco Lotus parking lot and veer to the right of the store following road around the back.

Here’s a video of the shrubs being delivered and installed.

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