April 2020 musings: The green thumb

Moving the orchids to the sunny side

Quarantine? Staying home has never been a problem for me. I can stay indoors for weeks—work, watch film reruns and eat. When involved in a task, I can be obsessive. Focus though is another problem. This is why a single task will take long to finish. Time is on my side during this quarantine period.

The last time I was in “quarantine” this long (or even longer) was in the Year 1999 or 2000. I was in between jobs, and sadly, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a good reason to stay home and keep her company. Nothing laborious for her so she gave me the blessing to rearrange the gazillions of plants in her own piece of paradise. Her green thumb can grow a forest and make orchids bloom worthy of red ribbons. Many were “green with envy” over her piece of paradise.

Opening up the central space of the garden

It took a while since I got it to look the way it envisioned it to be. I went as far as Digos and Tagum to secure pots and bricks, arrange the garden so there was space for her to move around easily and tend to her garden. I think she approved of it or maternal love didn’t want her to break my heart with the effort I made. LOL. No casualties during my care. That was an achievement.  

Sadly, we lost mom in 2002. With Dad on retirement, golf and gardening kept him occupied. Gardening was his first order of the day and he had his own garden design aesthetics. Walang kokontra.

Grouping plants together

Quarantine time let me relive my green thumb stint from 20 years ago. I sought refuge at my dad’s place during the series of earthquakes in 2019. I don’t know if it’s a sign, but maybe I could provide the extra company during his octogenarian years (although a sibling is doing a good job of taking care of him). I am overstaying though. LOL.

Seeing the sorry state of the some of the plants I took care of years ago, I had to do something. It started with moving plants around. Some away from the sun and others to where the sun can shine on it, like the orchids which haven’t been bathed in the morning sun for ages. I haven’t seen them flower for years now. Maybe the trimming and replanting can help. 

Several plants grew old in the same pot. Imagine the roots choking it. Repotting was in order, some was good to prune and have the branch grow to new plants, some gave birth to new plants that needed its own pot. 

Propagating new plants

Sun-up to sundown, I had my hands soiled, my skin pricked and scratched. It took me a week to finish. Or was I? I still see a thing or two to do when I water the plants. I think I could have finished it earlier if I was systematic and focused. While replanting, I see dry leaves that needed to be trimmed in other plants or move a few pots to a news place, I go. Then I spot a few that needs to be repotted, I pick it up. It’s like multi-tasking. 

Personally, I feel accomplished. I like the openness of the garden. I’m hoping for the grass to fill the open space and for the plants to sport its blooms and lush green hue with pride, like next week? I’m wishful thinking but if by some magic they do, it could make my mom smile if she decides to visit the house on her birthday on May 7th

Also published in the SunStar Davao newspaper.

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