Save for a few minor things, the house renovation is done. Work still needs to be done on the windows, we still need locks for the French doors, some painting will have to be re-done (the rains ruined some of the paint) but, other than those, we’re okay. Ergo, it’s time to attend to the garden.
The garden is supposed to play host to two kinds of plants — ornamental and edible. There is a huge mango tree that came with the property as well as a large collection of ornamental plants tastefully arranged by a professional landscaper. We started replanting the herbs we brought from the old house about two weeks ago and, last week, we finished the rest. The basil, peppers, oregano, cilantro and mint have been replanted in spaces between ornamental plants so they look very much part of the landscaped garden. Our house helper was able to get some trunks of malunggay (Moringa oleifera) from her aunt and we have planted them near the gazebo. We’ll be sowing the lettuce and kangkong seeds within the week.
Almost done with the edible plants, we’re now focused on the ornamental plants. Not every plant that came with the property is to our liking although we are keeping most of them. It’s just a matter of re-arranging and a few additions here and there. Among the first additions we introduced are the pots of milflores (Hydrangea macrophylla), a species native to Japan and which is also known as Bigleaf Hydrangea, French Hydrangea, Lacecap Hydrangea, Mophead Hydrangea, Penny Mac and Hortensia (Wikipedia).
We used to have a lot of milflores shrubs in the old house but they only thrived for a few months. I don’t think they liked being planted directly into the soil so we’re keeping them in huge pots (3 feet high and about 2 feet wide) this time where they won’t have to compete with other plants for water.
Several years ago when milflores started becoming popular in the Philippines, a small shrub sold for around P300.00 in Tagaytay. A year and a half ago, the price was down to P40 to P50 per pot. When we started doing the rounds of plant stores in Antipolo, only one was selling milflores and the price was P250 for a medium-sized shrub. Speedy went to the Manila Seedling Bank in Quezon City and was able to buy three-foot shrubs for P100 and the smaller ones for P40 each.
This deciduous shrub usually grows up to 1-3 m tall. The leaves are opposite, simple ovoid-acute, 7-20 cm long, with a coarsely toothed margin. Its flowers can be white, or range from blue to purple to pink depending on soil pH; in more acidic soils the flowers will be blue, whereas alkaline soils yield a pinkish bloom. White flowered varieties do not change colour regardless of the soil pH… Gardeners can often control the flower colour by adding lime or aluminium sulfate to alter the acidity level around the plant. These flowers can also be rainbow colored when [Sodium Carbonate] is carefully poured into the soil. [Wikipedia]
It’ll take a lot of knowhow and experience to enable us to play with the colors of the flowers. We’ll be happy enough right now if we can keep them healthy and blooming all year round.