Gardens of Ranong: A Photographic Exploration

A green-fingered friend asked me last week whether people in Ranong have gardens. With eight months of rain a year, Ranong has fortuitous growing conditions, but many people don’t have a typical garden like I grew up with in New Zealand. There we had grass, trees, shrubs and vegetables, all with room to run around. Here, most people live in blocks of flats which face directly onto the street side, with little potential garden space. Houses are surrounded by concrete, tarmac or muddy roads.

However, people have still managed to create an array of ‘gardens’, effectively exploiting their minimal space to add greenery and colour to the streets. I decided to try and photograph some of these ‘gardens’ to demonstrate the ways people actively try to incorporate nature into urban living.

Aerial view from my apartment looking down to my downstairs neighbours balcony garden featuring chillies, tomatoes and various herbs
Green against blue. Potted plants line the block of flats across the road
The blue block of flats across the road has greenery bounded by drying fish and clothes
Adjacent to piles of rubbish, this shop has created a welcoming leafy entrance
A comfortable coffee corner surrounded by a wall of hanging greens and reds, fronted by a diversity of tropical plants at the nearby Iconic Hotel
Shrines such as this are commonplace in front of homes in this predominately Buddhist country. I cycle past this one every day en route to school and always admire how beautifully presented the shrine and garden are.


At the end of our quiet street is this marvelous assortment of flowers, herbs, cacti and others. It is lovingly attended to daily by the woman who lives in the house opposite.
Garden beds are not a hugely common scene in Ranong, but this one has been freshly planted.
This riverside shack features a glorious garden complete with hanging plants with pots fashioned from plastic bottles.
Not strictly a garden, these huge pots have been placed on the riverside. These pink flowers are delightful, but haven’t been able to ascertain their name.
Green against green. Down the road from school, small concrete spaces have been utilised well for small collections of plants

The grey dimming sky created a moody atmosphere when photographing this house. Black moldy concrete clad buildings are typical in Ranong, but the trees and shrubs bounding this one compliment this house’s blackened skin.
Even properties with a bit more space prefer potted plants

Finally, my ‘garden’ – making use of a pair of moldy gumboots, I’ve started my own porch garden. It’s great having some greenery around!


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