If I was asked who in Chiang Mai would get my vote for the most visionary resident of Chiang Mai, my first thought would be Mr Nikhom , proprietor of Chang Peuk Hotel, for it is he who was responsible for this tree planting beside the moat just West of Chang Peuk Gate. Mr Nikom had a vision of the city moat ringed by tall Dipterocarpus alatus trees grown from seed from an ancient tree planted two hundred or so years ago at Wat Chedi Luang.
A similar vision emerged in 2015 when a young team of Chiang Mai folk formed the Meur Yen Meung Yen group and planted a variety of mostly indigenous trees many of which will also grow tall around the moat. All the trees planted were planted as small seedlings up to half a metre in height.
Far away to the south one can witness the work of another visionary actor in the form of the Prince Mahidol Hall , home of the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra at the Salaya campus of Mahidol University in Nakhorn Pathom province.
As this picture show the hall is nicely framed when viewed from a large tree lined reflection pond. Trees are also very much a part of the Mahidol vision with thousands planted along all it’s roads. A noteworthy difference between the recent successful Chiang Mai community plantings and those at Mahidol is that the latter used large tree stock which had been root pruned and heavily staked.
How best can these landscape visions learn from each other to lift urban landscape standards and practices in terms of economy , long term sustainability and beauty ?
What mix of species , of planting techniques and spatial layout should be preferred ?