When we’re on the road, I have this habit of reading signs — road signs, signs at the back of vehicles, all kinds, really. So, yesterday, we were stuck in traffic in Calamba en route to U.P. Los Baños when I noticed a sign that said “Los Baños Flower & Garden Show” with the inclusive dates and venue. The U.P. Seniors’ Social Garden was right inside the campus, the show was still ongoing and since we knew we had more than an hour to kill, I immediately suggested that we check it out.
An hour to kill? We were in Los Baños for an agri-tour organized by Lotus Pod. The “super” coordinator is a friend from my TV guesting days, she invited me to join and I asked if Speedy and Sam could go along (Alex is taking summer classes — besides, farming is really not her thing). We were going to learn organic farming, plant tissue culture, hydroponics, vermin-composting and fertilizer making, and I was so excited.
As things usually happen on summer weekends, the exodus of city folk to resorts in nearby provinces clogged the highway, there were delays and, to make a long story short, we were in Los Baños a good hour ahead of the others in the tour group. So we had an hour to kill and we went to the flower and garden show.
Anything interesting in the flower and garden show? Oh, lots especially if, like us, you enjoy home gardening.
Around the center pavilion were stalls selling non-flower and garden stuff.
I was immediately drawn to a stall selling handmade soaps with local fruits and plants as ingredients. It was my first encounter with malunggay (moringa) soap made with virgin coconut oil. I bought one, on trial.
There were a lot of other products featuring malunggay. That goes to show that malunggay is still a huge business industry in the country following “testimonials” that practically elevated it to the status of a miracle medicine.
The flower and garden show featured a competition and the winners of the “Best Booth” contest were sporting ribbons. That’s the first placer in the photo above.
Curiously (or not), I prefer the artistry of a booth (above) that garnered a “special award” but did not land a place among the top three spots.
But the most important discoveries were fruit trees that we don’t usually find in regular plant stores in the city.
There was cedar bay cherry which is not a really a berry but a tropical shrub native to Australasia. The cedar bay cherry can grow into the size of a small tree too. The fruits are reputedly rich in anti-oxidants.
And then, there’s macadamia… And all I could think of was chocolate covered macadamia nuts and toasted macadamia nuts in a salad. We’re already in the process of growing dates in the garden and our next attempts will include macadamia.
There are also herbs for sale and the usual flowers. The flowers, I did not pay much attention to. As I’ve said in some previous posts, we’d rather turn our garden into a food-producing one and we’ve been slowly but surely eliminating the ornamentals to give way to more herbs, fruit trees and vegetables.
For those without special plans today, the Los Baños Flower & Garden Show at the Seniors’ Social Garden is on its last day. Be warned though that traffic from Calamba to Los Baños is horrendous because of an ongoing road construction in Pansol.