Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Impatient Gardener


It’s a special privilege to have a garden. When I wake up in the morning, I stand by the French doors to see the flowers blooming, the trees swaying in the sea breeze, and more banana trees sprouting though the old mama banana has not yet borne any fruit.

I just planted several ti plants this week to give more color to my elongated yard and hide the ugly cement fence. When I first paid attention to these plants in Bali, I thought how beautiful it would look to have a profusion of them. They grow tall and the crimson leaves are eye catching. I’ll need at least two dozen of these to cover the walls.

My garden is still evolving. I am hoping to bring the lush landscape of inland Capiz and Bohol into my home. But some plants are a little difficult to find like the Madagascar palm tree. So far I have a few young palms. They take a long time to reach six or seven feet but if I start cultivating them now, I’ll enjoy seeing them reach their maximum height.

On the contrary, it’s easy for bougainvillea, kalachuchi and roses to grow and bloom. With bougainvillea, I just cut off a stem, stick it on the ground, water it and after two weeks, the leaves start to sprout and in three months, there’s a small bush. With roses I notice that when I cut off a stem, new leaves, reddish in hue, sprout on the old stem after a week. The stem I’ve cut and sunk into the ground develops within a month.

I’ve always dreamed of a pink kalachuchi tree outside my front door. That’s exactly what I see whenever I open the door. It’s been blooming since the winds died down. My only problem now is to get rid of the aphids that are eating the leaves and turning them a spotted yellow. I tried to spray the leaves with Tide but it burnt the leaves instead. So I must get some insecticide soon.

The gumamela (in the hibiscus family) are not as easy to cultivate but the varieties and colors are worth waiting for. There is a bush in the garden that’s a mix of pink gumamela with the long stamen and a red gumamela with a yellow border. It’s an amazing sight when they bloom together.

Some days I’m surprised to see yellow butterfly orchids, bright orange sunflowers or white spider looking flowers. Today I saw an incredible pink bromeliad. I don’t know all their names but these wonders are the joys of gardening.

It’s thrilling to come home after being away for a few months. It’s only then when I can see how fast my plants have grown. But day-to-day I only collect dead leaves from all of them, especially the papaya trees.

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