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What to do when it gets hot

April 14, 2012

Today we had 36°C at Dokmai Garden in Chiang Mai, Thailand. An acclimatized monsoon gardener can go on working if he keeps drinking and moves slowly, but tourists and indoors people should be careful. If the temperature exceeds 33°C we usually take two hours lunch break. Although most tourists tend to come at mid day, we advice you to follow the examples of Ruben, Mia and most other mammals – have a nap.

Gardening from sunrise until nine am is usually very efficient and that is a time when the garden looks splendid. Evening gardening is also very rewarding. Sometimes I do pruning and watering with a torch. Watering at daytime is less efficient due to fast evaporation and the risk of over-heating the pumps.  At night you may also see exciting creatures. The harmless Laotian wolf snake appears like a psychedelic dream when its yellow bars slithers over the lawn. It does not seem afraid of people, probably confident most of us would think it is dangerous and yield. A new snake species at Dokmai Garden is the white-spotted slug snake. It is another harmless creature which helps you control slugs and snails. It is graphite grey with black spots (sic) and a white blotch or collar behind the head.

Experienced gardeners such as Mia sleep after lunch.

Some gardeners like to sleep under the sprinkler to cool down. The dry area under the roof to the left is less interesting during a hot night. Staying closely together feels safe and cosy, but is quite a hot option. There are eight wild boar in this picture, mama Lala to the right.

Text & Photo: Eric Danell

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