Three pieces of advice to a monsoon gardener: stay outdoors in spite of the heat, check the weather forecast yourself and grow a rattan in your garden. This is why:
1. A Thai-New Zealand family adapted to the heat visited Dokmai Garden yesterday (those of you who stay indoors now do not know what you miss). They bought many plants and thanks to the sharp eyes of the eldest son we registered the 12th snake species at Dokmai Garden: the golden tree snake (Chrysopelea ornata). This is a gliding snake which can flatten itself and glide from one tree to another. It showed us its agility by swiftly slither through a golden dew drop bush and then almost straight up into our entrance mango. Just the other day I remarked it would be so great to have this snake in the garden. It is not venomous, beautiful, large (130 cm), it can ‘fly’ and it kills rodents. How do you separate it from other green snakes, some of which are poisonous? The head, body and tail is black and green. Other green snakes may have a red tail and/or a uniformly green head. If there is a photographer who is not afraid of the heat, most welcome to take a picture of this snake!
2. The days are hot and dry now, around 37 °C. Yesterday the Thai staff said they received SMS warnings about an upcoming storm. I asked when it would hit and they phoned back and said “…it will hit Bangkok tonight” (i.e. last night) and that Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai provinces have been warned. They added there will be terrible winds and hail, coming from China. Then I said it must hit us soon because if it is a northern storm going towards Bangkok then we are in its way, but the sky looked clear. I suspected the Thai staff, who has no clue which direction China is (north), and in spite of my educational efforts still do not know which direction the monsoon comes from (southwest), may have talked nonsense. I consulted the Thai Meteorological Department website and they forecast five days of continuous drought with 10% chance of thunder showers. That is perfectly normal weather for April and so I rejected the nonsense of the staff and kept watering, wondering where they get their disinformation from?
3. Mole problems? A spiny rattan branch can be used to hook moles in their tunnels. Moles can be cooked and eaten as a delicacy, bones and all. The rattan method for catching moles comes from two different sources so if someone has access to long and fresh rattan, let’s try it!