By Patricia Bianca S. Taculao 

During the last few months of 2020, the Philippines experienced consecutive storm surges which negatively affected Filipinos from all over the country. Farmers also felt the impact of the calamities as they faced significant losses and damages to their crops. 

But other than the farmers and many others, gardeners also had trouble in dealing with the aftermath of the storms. 

Luz Sta. Maria Rocha, a housewife, has had to rebuild her garden in Tabaco City, Albay at least three times because of unpleasant weather. Eventually, she managed to bounce back from the incident.

Luz Sta. Maria Rocha is a housewife from Tabaco City, Albay who established a garden in her backyard.

Here’s how she managed to do it. 

Salvaging her plants and adapting to the situation 

“After the typhoons, I worked with the plants I had left and revived my garden bit by bit. I classified my plants according to the degree of attention and care they need,” Rocha said. 

In preparation for the storm, I gather some of my plants inside the house while I increase protection to those left outside by laying them flat on the ground and covering them with plant nets. Above all, I pray that my garden would not incur too much damage and losses as I wait for the storm to pass.”

After the calamity has passed, she first assesses how much damage has been done to her garden.She classifies her plants based on which ones are unaffected as well as which ones needed immediate care and special attention. 

The first thing that Rocha does after a storm is salvage whatever plants she can and classify them according to the level of attention they need.

“I worked hard repotting them, and salvaging the area on which they are planted. Do not lose hope in reviving your garden no matter how bad it is after the storm, because for every new and emerging leaf, there is hope. Your hard work will eventually pay off,” the housewife encouraged. 

Since the storms came after another, Rocha rapidly adapted to the situation and developed a response to help her in securing her plants. 

“In preparation for the storm, I gather some of my plants inside the house while I increase protection to those left outside by laying them flat on the ground and covering them with plant nets,” she said. 

Through her hard work, Rocha managed to revive her garden as if it never experienced consecutive typhoons. 

A few tips on how to arrange a garden 

Once she managed to salvage what she could, Rocha continued to build up her garden again and set it up in a visually appealing way. She shares some tips on how to create a cohesive design for their garden. 

“First, you should collect plants that interest you. Make sure that these have already adapted to your growing conditions or to your home’s environment,” Rocha said. 

The next thing to think about is arrangement. Rocha particularly groups her plants according to their similarities to create an organized presentation for her garden. Some of the factors she considers are lushness, color, and leaf size.

In designing her garden, Rocha grouped plants that have the same color, leaf size, and lushness.

Lastly, Rocha advises investing in hardscape such as stones, nicely painted pots, and quality fencing to increase any garden’s aesthetic value. 

Rocha grows foliage plants or aroids such as philodendrons, monsteras, and pothos. 

“[These] particularly interest me because their leaf size, shape, especially their color patterns, amaze me. Also, I appreciate propagating flowering plants like orchids, bougainvillea, hibiscus, and roses,” the housewife said. 

Influenced by her family 

According to Rocha, her mother’s appreciation for plants inspired her inclination towards gardening. Added to this is that when she was a high school student in the 1970s, she was already fond of assisting her father in planting vegetables in their backyard. 

“But my love for gardening peaked when I had my own kids. I grew my own backyard garden starting with African violets, orchids, and anthuriums,” she said. 

In caring for her plant babies, Rocha said that tender, loving care, or TLC, is her fertilizer. 

“After having coffee at 6 AM, I visit my garden and greet my plants good morning. I also talk to them while checking for yellow leaves and pests. I manually clean their leaves one by one as I do not want to see their surfaces dry nor dirty. I seldom water them because it is always raining, but in the summer, I water them in the morning or afternoon. I apply fertilizer once [every] three months after cultivating the soil,” she elaborated. 

Through gardening, Rocha feels a sense of purpose by being able to nurture and make her plants grow. And more importantly, she gets to impart a sense of joy to her friends and family, making her efforts more worthwhile.