Monday, November 22, 2010

Gardening, the Weeds and the Green Thumb.

0The fruits of my Adonidia merrillii has ripened. My Adonidia merrillii? Yes, my Adonidia merrillii, my lemonsitomy plants. I take ownership of the plants around our house since I was the one who planted them. I forgot how old the tree is though. I rarely take care of the plants—I am more of a planter than a caretaker.

When I was younger, I got forced to dig in the dirt to plant flowers and greens. I planted trees, transplanted seedlings, and potted ornamentals. They say I’m a green thumb—I believe I am—like Stanley in A Troll in Central Park. I can grow almost any plant—sort of. But I would rather not risk planting cold weather plants in the Philippines. 

I have always been interested in plants but never really started planting when I was around 7 or 8. I remember getting cuttings of wild Lantanas in Bogo in the summer after 1st grade. When I got to the city, I later found out that my cuttings were missing. I kept the cuttings in my bag with my clothes, somehow my folks found out about the cuttings and threw it away—they don’t want me growing weeds. I’m not really fond of the ornamentals that one can get from gardening shops; I’m more attracted to the stubborn, wild growing plants in the open spaces and mountains of Cebu—I’m not really sure if all of those plants were weeds but at least in Cebu most of those greens were considered as such. Some of the wildlings I planted include: Stachytarpheta jamaicensis, Abutilon indicum, Tridax procumbens, Ruellia tuberosa, Crotalaria spectabilis, and Vernonia spp. I was successful in growing them from seeds or from cuttings but, sadly, they end up getting uprooted by my folks or getting eaten by the neighbor’s chickens. I can say that it was my ability to grow weeds that made me a green thumb. 

Vernonia sp.
(Photo by WP User: Obsidian Soul)

Stachytarpheta indica 
(Photo by WP User: Devanand Pillai)
Tridax procumbens 
(Photo by WP User: Wie146)
Abutilon indicum
(Photo by WP User: Bō-á-tún ê hoe)
Back when I was younger—when I was more obedient—or, maybe, gullible; on weekends, my folks would ask me to do their gardening for them. A neighboring uncle or aunt would come to ask me to man their gardens—it’s their way of assuring the survival of their gardens. Excuses! They just don’t want to get their hands dirty. Most of the plants that I’ve touched would survive. Most of them survived the wet and dry seasons but there were some plants that can’t be helped, they succumbed to disease. 
Ruellia tuberosa
(Photo by WP User: J.M.Garg)
Crotalaria spectabilis
(Photo by WP User: Pollinator)
Currently, we only have a few plants left. Some non-flowering potted plants, some shrubs and some small fruit trees. A lot of our plants died—nangluod ang tanom.

When I started doing night shifts, I felt I needed a way to unwind. My first option was to get a new pet but we already have cats and fishes—I opted to go back in to gardening. My first acquisition is a Torenia fournieri, which I bought outside the Basilica del Santo Nino while on my way home from school. We no longer have a space for a garden but I can have a collection of potted plants instead. This time around though, I’ll be both a planter and a nurturer. 

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