By Patricia Bianca S. Taculao 

Rosalinda R. Salcedo, or “Ayen” as she is fondly called, lives with her family on a mountainside property in San Fernando, Cebu.

Her hobby revolves around upcycle gardening, where she takes old paint or milk cans and transforms them into low-cost pots to grow her plants in. 

“We don’t earn much, so it’s best to use old materials then turn them into something useful. I still give in to the occasional bazaars where I [can] get things at a low price, but I still prefer using what’s already available so it won’t clutter our surroundings,” Ayen said.

Her flowerpots are a mix of upscaled cans and pots she bought at a low price.

She even uses driftwood found on beaches as stands to accentuate her ornamental plants.

Other than costing less, she finds that recyclable items are more practical to use because it won’t hurt her green thumb – or her pockets – if they are damaged. 

Ayen made the most of her 800 sq. m. garden by adding ornamental plants, vegetables, and trees wherever space allowed. 

“The plot is located near the sea and on the side of a mountain. Naturally, there would be fresh air because of our location. I just [added] more greenery here and there so it would look picturesque,” Ayen said. 

She added that there are benefits from gardening that she enjoys. One advantage is that the plants, as well as the fruit trees, provide shade on sunny days, so it’s relaxing to lounge outdoors. 

The property was originally owned by her great aunt, who currently resides in Manila because of her career and family. She left the house under the care of Ayen and her family. 

One thing that Ayen enjoys about gardening on a mountainside is the feeling of being close to nature and not having to put in too much effort in growing plants because the rich soil, as well as direct access to sunlight and rainfall, does it for her.