Dec 12, 2009

Planting the very first trees

It's been some time now that I want to plant trees, plenty of trees, and see them grow big and tall. It's not such an easy thing to do when you do not own land, and live in one of the biggest cities in the world. I love Bangkok, and feel lucky to have a chance to be here. But when it comes to planting trees, cities don't provide you with much opportunities : you need an actual access to the soil through the concrete. You also want to plant a tree where it's not going to be damaged too much, or even cut down by other people.

So after much thinking, my first plan was to plant a tree next to my home, in replacement of another one that died and has been removed. This way, I just replace what has come to be missing.

I then decided to wait for december 5th to plant the first tree, in honor of His Majesty the King of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej, who relentlessly repeats how important it is to plant trees for everybody's health, wealth and spirit. I also decided to plant that first tree as close as possible to the heart of the King's birthday celebrations.

This is how I found myself digging a (very small) hole in the ground, amidst a crowd of bemused Thais, all of them wearing pink shirts, smiling and kidding me around. They pretty much understood my purpose and the symbolic date without need for explanations, and took turns for a series of pictures with me and the newly planted tree. Just too bad i didn't bring my camera, or thought of getting a copy...

The first tree planted (Dipterocarpus), after one week

My wife and I bought bottles of water (forgot to bring some), watered the tree, planted a flag next to it, and that was it ! Since then, it got 2 liters of water almost every days of this past week, and looks great !  We came back yesterday with another same tree, to fill the available spot right next to it.

only 40 cm high, but already looking forward to reach the sky !

I now wish to continue this fun and useful activity, and have already noticed some suitable spots for more trees ! :D


  1. What a nice idea to help to make the city more green. Hope you did choose a fast-growing species, so you can regularly update on the progress of your tree.

    Here in Germany some of the urban trees, or more specifically the tree bed, get adopted by residents, who then help to keep it clean from garbage and weeds, or even plant small flowers on their own expenses. Though Thais love to have flowers around their house, I guess it will need long till activities like your won't receive bemused attention anymore.

  2. This adoption idea is really inspiring me, and I'm pretty sure it will really catch here. I have to think about it more, but I already think I know how it will help me plant more trees. I'll keep you posted ;)

  3. Here's a flyer by a German nature preservation organization in Nuremberg. Even if you cannot read German the photos might give an idea about it.

  4. Another great reference, tnx Andy :)

  5. I too love your idea of marking where trees can grow, and then planting in the rainy season. It is much easier on both the tree, and you.

    I used to stick tree limbs in the ground during the wet season (a little growing powder goes a long way). Nine months later, I had tall trees.

  6. Great idea, so many people dont know what to do. but as everybody can see here it is very easy to something useful!
    thank u
    greets and good luck


  7. Thank you Catherine and Alex !

    It's very easy to do something useful, and it makes me feel good. :D

    You are most welcome to come and plant a tree some time this raining season. It takes less than 30 min !

  8. This is wonderful idea. Trees are our best friends.


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