Category Archives: Garden Doctor by Dr. Kris

Natural Fertiliser

‘Dear Garden Doctor, I have a small plot with a lawn, frangipani, bromeliads, a lot of leafy border plants. I have a few pot plants and trying to grow tomatoes. What is the best fertiliser to use to give everything a kick along because I don’t think I have the best soil, and obviously I can’t replace it all in one hit. Thanks for the informative articles, keep them coming. Regards, Michael, Sanur.’   The best thing to do would be to improve the state of your soil by composting and incorporating natural organic fertilisers along the way. The health of the soil ... [ Read More ]

The Apulkat Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree!

‘Dear Dr. Kris, Saw an article by you. Thanks for sharing that. Would it be possible for you to share as to what is the best time/ month to start germination of avocado seeds in Indonesia? Thanks in anticipation. Dr Karan Singh, Jakarta.’   Avocado = Apulkat in Bahasa Indonesia. The avocado tree is a plant that will usually do well without too much human intervention. It can easily be grown from the large seed that comes with the fruit. Deciding on when to plant depends on how much care you are willing to give your plant, and the conditions ... [ Read More ]

What a Thoughtful Little Snake

Hi Kris, Just today I found this snake skin close by my pool when i was swimming with my 3 year old daughter. I am a bit concerned that we might have a resident snake in our garden even though we hardly have one and it is very well kept. We live in Sanur. I have attached a few photos of the snake skin. It looks a bit like a Cobra to me or am I wrong? What can we do to avoid such problems? I Look forward hearing from you. Best regards, Rilke.’   Just this morning I showed my 7 year old son the pictures from Rilke’s yard, ... [ Read More ]

Water Conservation in the Garden

‘We have just bought a block of land up in the hills at Jimbaran where we plan to build our own little piece of paradise. Because the land has been cleared we have a blank canvas to work with but from the outset I would like to maintain a low-maintenance garden if that makes any sense? Do you have any ideas for saving water or which plants or planting techniques that I can use to ensure that I am not out there watering or wasting scarce water all of the time. Thanking you in advance for your suggestions. Regards Roger. ... [ Read More ]


‘Dear Garden Dr., I see that you mentioned dandelions in the last article, it sparked some old time childhood memories of blowing the seeds off and watching them float away in the wind – thanks for that! It also revived another memory of mine from my long departed dear grandfather. He said that many moons ago some people used to pull grass out of their own lawns to make room for dandelions, chickweed, chamomile and other useful so-called weeds (that I have now forgotten the names of) and I don’t doubt it. While I know that dandelion root ‘coffee’ has become somewhat ... [ Read More ]

Beautiful Trees and Flowers Seen around Bali

Hi Dr Kris, I hope you don’t mind me asking, but I read your Bali Advertiser articles and love them…..I thought you might be able to help me identify a tree. We have a property up in the hills northeast of Ubud but were down in Nusa Dua and saw this tree we really liked. I asked the gardeners there what it was and they said it was a ‘Panisium’ (not exactly sure on how they should spell it) but when I try and search on this name nothing comes up. Would you by chance happen to know what it is ... [ Read More ]

Plants to Purify the Air

‘Hi Dr. Kris, Love the information that you deliver. Just a quick question -have heard about using pot plants indoors to purify the air to reduce toxic contaminants. How effective do you think plants would be for removing toxins from the air, or freshening it up a bit, and are there any plants that you could specifically recommend. Thanking you in advance. Regards – Bali Ben.’ It has been said that the air inside our homes can sometimes be more polluted than the air outside….this would obviously depend on where you live and what you keep in your home of ... [ Read More ]

Growing Bali Style

‘Dear Garden Doctor, I have been experimenting gradually transforming my bare garden plot into my own little private oasis. I am trying to develop a Balinese style garden, this is Bali after all! I already have palms, frangipani and a water feature – was wondering about the difference between water lilies or lotus or are they the same plant? I can’t tell the difference. What are the other plants that would be important to add in? I would be very grateful for any other easy tips on growing a Bali style garden that you think would be useful. Interested in your thoughts ... [ Read More ]

Why Gardening With Neem Is Bitter Sweet

‘Dear Garden Doc, A friend gave me a cutting of the neem plant that he said was known as the curry plant. I have heard about neem oil as useful for organic pest control, so I was wondering if it is safe to consume other parts of the plant apart from the oil, and whether or not it is safe to eat produce sprayed with the oil. In what way can neem oil be used for pests? Is this cutting safe to grow and use, is it definitely the curry plant?  I am just a bit confused considering I have seen ... [ Read More ]

Home Grown is Always Best

‘Dear Garden Doctor, I am planning on a kitchen garden of a variety of herbs, some in the garden and small pots. I am wondering if it is worth going to the effort of growing garlic. Can I grow this in pots and is it worthwhile, does it require much care? A friend told me that I should be able to grow it by breaking up a bulb and putting a few cloves in the ground. Is this correct, is it really that simple? Thank you in advance for any helpful advice, Pauline.’ Garlic – famous for its culinary, nutritional and medicinal ... [ Read More ]