By Patricia Bianca S. Taculao
Surigao is famous among tourists for its picturesque beaches and other natural attractions such as waterfalls, islands, rivers, and caves. All of these make up the topography of the province.
One natural feature of Surigao is its wetlands or swamps. These areas are permanently saturated, some even filled, with water. This makes growing some plants difficult because of the high levels of moisture in the soil.
Wilrose Taylaran, a local of Surigao del Sur, is familiar with the conditions of a swamp since her home is located in near proximity of one. Yet, she doesn’t let this stop her from doing what she loves: gardening.
Presently, her house is surrounded by a variety of plants that include both ornamentals and vegetables.
Growing ornamentals and table vegetables
Taylaran started gardening in 2014 but her interest in growing plants began from a young age, she was already inspired to start because of her grandfather.
“Watching my grandfather garden has sparked my passion for growing my own plants. I have also dreamed of becoming an agricultural engineer but it wasn’t realized. Nonetheless, I’m happy with what I’m doing,” Taylaran said.
Among the plants that she grows is the nong nooch vine (Petraeovitex bambusetorum) which is a semi-tropical vine that produces long trailing leaves and yellow stalks where cream-colored flowers bloom. The nong nooch can grow to a length of two feet or more.
Nong noochs don’t tolerate freezing conditions and require full exposure to sunlight to partial shade. In terms of watering, the plant needs to be watered regularly but not too much since it can be prone to overwatering. This plant is also suitable for growing in containers.
Since Taylaran lives near a swamp, most of the soil around her house isn’t suitable for growing most plants that don’t tolerate extreme moisture. This is why she resorted to using containers for gardening.
By implementing this garden practice, the housewife and mother of three gets to grow the plants that she likes while also utilizing every available space she has around her house.
“I usually use recycled materials for my pots. I scavenge these items from the trash that nearby resorts throw away,” Taylaran said.
She added that having a small space isn’t a major problem to her and a big space isn’t a requirement to start growing plants. In creating a home garden, Taylaran said that it’s the perfect avenue to unleash one’s creativity where they can set up the area to become beautiful and suitable for growing plants.
Other plants that Taylaran likes to grow are ornamentals like vincas, petunias, dianthus, begonias, and several other foliage plants. In addition to this, she also grows vegetables such as pechay, mustasa, alugbati, kamote, and kangkong.
Due to her arrangement of the plants that are located around the house, some visitors would stop and have their picture taken with Taylaran’s garden.
Although Taylaran has been interested in gardening from a young age, she still learned from others by connecting with them via social media. She encourages budding gardeners to follow suit and use the platform to become a learning medium.
“It’s a really nice feeling to have food on the table and knowing that it’s healthy and safe to eat because you’re the one who grew them,” she said.
Taylaran also said that looking at her garden gives her a sense of contentment and being around nature benefits her mind, body, and soul.