Terri has always been an avid gardener, from potted flowers and herbs in our early apartments, to carefully designed landscapes around our many houses. Generally, my contribution has been as hole-digger, mulch toter, plant waterer, and cocktail wrangler when the job is finished.
So each of us has a real appreciation for pleasant, attractive gardens. And on our most recent trip to Bangkok, we revisited one of our favorites – The Jim Thompson Garden. So take a stroll with me through this wonderful garden.
Jim Thompson, no slouch in the talent department, was an American businessman whose impressive resume includes stints as architect, army officer, spy, silk merchant, and collector of Asian antiques. After leaving the army, he moved to Bangkok and devoted himself to revitalizing the Thai silk industry.
Never one for mediocrity, when Thompson decided to build a house, he cobbled together a masterpiece using parts of six traditional Thai houses from all over the country. And to complete his refuge, he designed his tropical garden.
His house and garden, which are now a museum, are at the end of a narrow, nondescript lane surrounded by noisy, congested Bangkok. The estate is an island of peace and quiet in a sea of pandemonium. The garden isn’t grand, but its appeal lies in its tropical lushness and serenity. And it’s protected by a charming Thai Spirit House – a replica of the big house.
Bangkok, like many Southeast Asian capitals, is a vibrant city. But it has an in-your-face quality that creates the need for a respite. And this is what the Jim Thompson Garden is all about.
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Music: Cast Your Fate to the Wind by Vince Guaraldi (of Charlie Brown fame), and performed by David Benoit