This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
By Norby Bautista The Torch Ginger, or scientifically known as Etlingera elatior, is a herbaceous perennial herb closely related to our common ginger, and is grown primarily for ornamental horticulture because of its beautiful flower. Other common names includes Ginger Flower, Red Ginger Lily, Torch Lily, Wild Ginger, Combrang, Bunga Siantan, Philippine Wax Flower, Xiang Bao Jiaing, Indonesian Tall Ginger, Boca de Dragón, Rose de Porcelaine, and Porcelain Rose. The showy pink flowers are used in decorative arrangements to provide a tropical look, while the flower buds are an important ingredient in Thai and North Sumatran dishes, mostly with fresh fish. Chemically, the leaves of E. elatior contains three caffeoylquinic acids including chlorogenic acid (CGA), and three flavonoids of quercitrin, isoquecitrin and catechin. The leaves also have the highest antioxidant, antibacterial and tyrosinase inhibition activities among five Etlingera species, which makes it an important drug source in the medical or pharmaceutical industry. The plant usually grows in large clumps, reaching a height of 3-6 meters, and are usually cultivated in the soil, under partial shade. Propagating materials like divisions are usually sold in garden centers or garden shows in the Manila or in Los Banos, Laguna. For optimum growth, provide plants with fertile, compost-rich, soil and water every other day. Complete fertilizer can be provided every 2 months. Flowers can be cut in the morning and used in flower arrangements. Torch ginger is propagated by seeds. The plant is widely distributed in the Malesia area, and was subsequently introduced into the Philippines. It is native to Indonesia, Malaysia, and S Thailand; widely cultivated and naturalized in SE Asia.
by Norby Bautista Guzmania, which is related to the pineapple. is one of the popular genus of bromeliads cultivated in most gardens. The genus was named after Anastasio Guzman, a Spanish pharmacist and naturalist. Guzmania is native in South America. Though not native in the Philippines, it is one of the most extensively grown bromeliad in Quezon, Laguna, Cavite and Cagayan de Oro. Several species and hybrids of this genus are cultivated as indoor and outdoor garden plants. The best known is Guzmania lingulata (scarlet star) which bears orange and red bracts. Guzmanias die after the plant has produced its flowers in summer, but new plants can easily be propagated from the offsets which appear as the parent plant dies. They are epiphytes and can do well if tied on to pieces of bark with roots bound into sphagnum moss. Guzmanias require warm temperatures and relatively high humidity. These plants are commonly used as landscape plants in shaded home gardens, in indoor pocket gardens, or as accents / ground cover during garden shows. Guzmania produce their best flower color in bright diffused light, usually under 1-2 layers of shade net. Do not expose plants to direct sun as it can cause leaf burns. Water plants regularly and their centers should be kept full of water, even when the plants are blooming. This may be a problem to some since mosquito larvae could thrive in these stagnant water. Thus, it is recommended to change the water in the pocket-like centers by turning over plants every week and refilling the water. The potting mixture can be watered by letting the centers overflow into it. Guzmanias are usually planted on 5 inch pots with a mixture of charcoal plus coconut husk cubes or coconut coir dust with sand. Though most of the species are epiphytes or air plants, they can also be mounted on driftwoods without media, as long as the centers are always filled with water and the surroundings are kept moist or humid. Young plantlets arise at the base of the plant after the mother plants have bloomed.
Mangkono: A Rare and Unique Hardwood
Mangkono (Xanthostemon verdugonianus) which belongs to the family Myrtaceae bears attractive red blossoms that later yield halfmoon-shaped, red seeds. This tropical evergreen tree is also commonly called the Philippine ironwood and dubbed the "hardest tree in the Philippines." Mangokono grows naturally only in the central Philippines on Surigao's Dinagat Island, Homonhon Island in Samar, Babatngon, Leyte, and in Palawan. Nationwide it now is considered rare and endangered according to the ASEAN Regional Centre for Biodiversity Conservation. The tree is encouraged to be conserved, and is now being promoted by Hortica Filipina, a nonprofit, non-government organization specializing is promoting Philippine tree species for metropolitan greening. It is an slow growing evergreen tree with an upright, oval habit, mangkono's trunk can reach a diameter of 20 to 36 inches and overall height of 30 to 40 feet. The trunk is fluted and carries small twigs as well as architecturally irregular but picturesque branches. Leaves are tongue to rounded oval in shape and green with a leathery texture. The ornate, rounded clusters of bright, blood-red flowers occur on branch tips and have five small petals but many erect whisker-like stamens. The dry fruits split open into three sections to release tiny half-moon seeds Mangkono trees tolerate low-fertility soils but grow much more lushly in more sandy loam garden-like soils that are rich in organic matter. In the heat of the long growing season, provide lots of water. Provide full to partial sunlight exposures for more abundant flowering displays, but no fewer than five hours of direct sunlight daily. It grows nicely in an open grove with other tropical trees and palms. Mangkono wood is among the hardest and densest in the world, often used as a substitute for the dense hard wood of the lignum-vitae (Guaicum spp.) trees of the Caribbean. Often, trees are allowed to grow to a diameter of a few inches before being cut. Gas-powered diamond blades cooled by water more readily cut the wood as compared to axes, which take considerably more time and energy. Mangkono makes a superb material for the bearing or stern bushing of steamship propeller shafts. It is also used as rollers, shears, saw guide blocks, tool handles, novelties, poles and piles for wharfs and bridges. Smaller-diameter trunks or branches are heavily used as house posts, according to the Haribon Foundation. The gnarled trunks and branches and vividly colored flowers also make mangkono a magnificent ornamental tree, albeit rare, for tropical gardens.
Blue Ginger: A ‘Cool’ Flower for a Shaded Garden
The Blue Ginger plant, scientifically known as Dischorisandra thyrsiflora, is a popular perennial ornamental landscaping plant for the tropical outdoor garden. The plant produces attractive, threepetalled flowers that are bluish in color with small yellow centers. Flowers are borne on a terminal spike. The entire flower spike when still in bud looks very much like the one produced by a blue hyacinth bulb. For those of us who are more imaginative, it may look like a bunch of grapes, except that is held upright! The plant is erect, clump-forming, rhizomatous, soft-stemmed, and evergreen The plant is native to the tropical woodlands of North, Central and South America, most especially from Brazil. The plant is primarily an ornamental plant, cultivated for its strikingly blue flowers and often cultivated in shaded gardens. A much sought-after plant by tropical plant connoisseurs, the Blue Ginger plant constitutes one of the small number of plants that features the cooler blue color in its flowers. The floral colors of most other tropical plants are more on the ‘warmer side’ which include red, yellow and orange. The common name, ‘Blue Ginger’ is actually a misnomer, and is not a true ginger at all. It is a member of the Commelinaceae family and its relatives include the Boat Lily (Tradescantia spathacea) and the Wandering Jew (T. zebrina). It got mistakened to be a ginger probably due to the entire plant’s resemblence with a Spiral Ginger (Costus spp.). The Blue Ginger plant produces tall stems with leaves that are arranged in a spiral manner that is similar to the growth habit of Spiral Gingers. Although both the Blue Ginger and a Spiral Ginger both do not emit an aromatic smell when they are injured, they can be easily told apart because the latter plant produces flowers that are borne on a cone-like structure of bracts. When it comes to its growing conditions, the Blue Ginger prefers to be grown in cooler and shadier conditions. Semi-shaded conditions with filtered sunshine would be most optimal. Plants become sun-
burnt easily if they are grown in under direct sunshine. Under shady conditions, the plant produces leaves that feature a beautiful silver stripe. The plant is, however, not an easy plant to bloom tropical lowland conditions. One has to find the ‘right’ cool and shady spot where the plant likes to grow in. The Blue Ginger plant likes to be planted in a humid and windless location. Its roots should be moist and not soggy wet. During the cooler, wetter months at the end of the year the Blue Ginger can be persuaded to bloom. The plant will grow well in a good general purpose potting mix (a soil that retains water yet drains well). For best results, mix garden soil with sand and a small portion of compost with a 1:1:1 ratio. Water the plant regularly. For its nutritional requirement, fertilize plants once every 2 months with a half teaspoon complete fertilizer. The plant is prone to mealy bugs. Thus, always inspect any new plant for pests before introducing it to your home or greenhouse. It is also prone to antracnose, crown rot and southern blight. The plant is propagated vegetatively with stem cuttings. A long stem can be cut into shorter sections with several internodes and these can be stuck into some well-drained soil placed in a shady and protected location like what is commonly done for propagation via stem-cuttings. It also produces a fleshy, orange-red fruit.
A GARDEN OASIS IN THE HEART OF GATEWAY MALL
by Justin B. Morelos
As people passes through Gateway Mall’s main building in Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City, they will certainly pass through an enclosed garden paradise within the mall. “The Oasis”, a uniquely designed floating garden located at the heart of the shopping mall, is actually a open garden cafeteria managed by the Mandarin Oriental Cafe and Deli. They offer superb food at the same time provide a paradise-like ambiance and tucked at the heart of the mall.
The 450 square meter Oasis, is spectacularly designed to provide an ambiance similar to a Garden of Eden, enclosed in clear, seethrough glass, and showcases a variety of exotic flora in a lush tropical setting, which makes it a perfect venue for fine dining and cocktail parties. Within the garden are towering 60-foot Royal Palms which extends up to the top of the building. The restaurant is open up to the sky, permitting natural sunlight and rain to come in. People who would wish to dine or just stroll through the garden itself will be greeted with an assortment of colorful flowering bromeliads, anthuriums, heliconias, ginger plants and aglaonemas. There is also the sound of running water from its artificial waterfalls, flowing stream and clear pond to provide tranquility and a cool, humid atmosphere to the surrounding environs. There are also koi carps in the clear pond, actuated with Chinese statues. The pond also serves as a wishing well as children throw coins on it. The garden is multi-level, with steps and higher elevation, wherein tables and chairs with umbrellas are situated so that diners can enjoy a sip of brewed coffee as they enjoy the ambiance.
Oasis offers diners a clear view of the mall's tasteful interior as they relax in the garden. Diners can savor the restaurant's Hainanese chicken, asian salads and sandwitches. This pocket of greenery is an inspiration to most plant lovers and gardeners as it shows that a paradiselike garden can be created even in a buzzling city like here in Araneta Center. It landscape design is truly a unique and creative tropical one which makes one forget that you are actually inside a city.
The Sunflower -- Helianthus annuus
The Sunflower, or Helianthus annuus, is an annual flowering plants native to the Americas, that possess a large inflorescence or flowering head. It is also grown in the Philippines as a landscape plant and source of its valuable seeds. Its flower is a composite flower, composed of numerous florets crowded together. The outer florets are sterile ray florets usually yellow, maroon, or orange in color, while the florets inside the circular head, or disc florets, are the ones which mature into seeds. Sunflowers usually grow to heights between 1.5 and 3.5 m (5–12 ft). Young sunflowers exhibit heliotropism, wherein its leaves and flower heads follow the sun and their orientation therefore changes from east to west during the day.
The sunflower is native to the Central Americas. The evidence thus far is that it was first domesticated in Mesoamerica, which is now present day Mexico, by at least 2600 BC and may have been domesticated a second time in the middle Mississippi Valley, or been introduced there from Mexico at an early date, as corn was. The Aztecs and Otomi of Mexico use Sunflowers used as symbol of their solar deity, Sun flowers are usually grown outdoors and need full sun for it to produce flowers. They grow best in fertile, moist, well-drained soil with a lot of mulch or compost. In commercial planting, seeds are planted 45 cm (1.5 ft) apart and 2.5 cm (1 in) deep. Sunflower seeds are sold as a snack food, after roasting in ovens, with or without salt added, used directly in cooking and salads, or processed as bird feed. In other countries, sunflowers are processed into a peanut butter alternative, sunbutter. Sunflower oil, extracted from the seeds, is used for cooking, as a carrier oil and to produce margarine. Sunflowers are also used as a phyto-remediant, as it can be used to extract toxic ingredients from soil, such as lead, arsenic, and uranium, especially radioactive cesium-137 and strontium-90 from a nearby pond after the Chernobyl disaster in Russia. With this, the sunflower is often used as a symbol of green ideology.
LOS BANOS GARDEN SHOW HELD WITH THEME ON CHRISTMAS IN OCTOBER
The central display during the Los Banos Garden Show showing the Nativity, with the child Jesus, with Joseph and Mary, and the 3 wise men offering gifts.
Plants and garden lovers came, momentarily escape the hectic schedules of urban office life and visited the Los Banos Horticultural Society's Garden Show at the Senior Social Garden, University of the Philippines at Los Banos, College, Laguna last Oct 8 8
17, 2010. This season’s theme was “Christmas in October” and the featured plants were: Aglaonemas and Philodendrons. The garden show offered garden landscape designs of the Nativity, with the Baby Jesus, His Parents Joseph and Mary and the Three Wise Kings offering their gifts. The venue was also a good source of native and exotic ornamental plants – the colorful Aglaonema and uniquely shaped leaves of Philodendron plants, including other colorful plants like Poinsettias, Orchids, Bromeliads, Chrysanthemums, African Daisies, Tillandsias, Fruit Tree seedlings and many more. It was also the season of the sweet Paete lazones and the Laguna Rambutan fruits. Afterwards, some opt to side trail and dipped into the cozy hot springs resorts which abound in the area and experienced the cool tranquil and mystical ambiance of Los Banos. Afterwhich visitors returned back to city life refreshed and relaxed.
Other exhibits like Christmas garden arrangements, displays, ornaments, and accessories were also presented during the garden show.
Basil is grown for its fragrant tasty leaves that can be added raw to salads, sandwiches or used in cooked dishes such as the ever popular pasta with tomato and basil sauce. Basil can be grown in pots. Ensure that adequate drainage is allowed from the base of the pot by lining the bottom with coarse gravel. However, I basil will be grown outside, ensure that the soil is well dug over and weed free before sowing. Before sowing ensure that the compost or soil is moist. Sow seeds during summer time, usually February, or maybe kept momentarily indoors to protect from too much rain. Sow the seed thinly and if growing in pots sow enough for a few plants in each pot. Cover the seeds with 1/2 cm of compost and firm gently. Basil seeds should germinate in about a week and once the seedlings have developed 2 pairs of true leaves then you can thin out the weakest seedlings in each pot, leaving each pots strongest. Basil should be grown in a position that receives a good amount of sunlight around 6-8 hours a day. Basil can be grown indoors on a sunny windowsill or outdoors in containers or soil. If growing outside try and position the Basil in a sheltered spot that avoids too much rain. Basil likes a fertile soil that has been welll dug to allow good soil air circulation. Introducing well rotted organic compost or manure into the soil a month or so before sowing will help this. If growing in pots then a general purpose compost is a suitable soil solution. If growing plants indoors in pots using compost then weeds shouldn't be a problem. If growing outdoors then you can add an organic mulch around the Basil plants to help aid soil moisture retention and prevent weed establishment.
If growing Basil in containers or indoor pots then add a small amount of fertilizer every month or so. Water every week (more often if growing in outdoor containers or indoors). When watering your Basil make sure to water at the base of the plant avoiding showering the leaves and stems. Be sure to pinch out any flowers that appear. This will help preserve the plants flavour and also channel the plants energies into more leaf growth. Basil is a pick and come again crop. It is best to pick a few leaves off a number of plants than picking all the leaves off one plant. Harvest the top most leaves first. Basil will grow all year round indoors or outdoors. Select plants that can flower and produce seeds. Once harvested Basil can be frozen for later use. Basil can be used in fresh or dried form. To dry Basil cut the stems at soil level and dry them in a dehydrator or hang bunches of stems up to air dry in a warm room, this should take about a week. Once the leaves are dried you can remove them from the stems and then store them in a dry airtight container for up to 12 months. The most popular variety of Basil is Sweet Basil and this is the variety most often used in cooking. Other varieties include Purple Basil (purple leaves) and Lemon Basil (a mild lemon flavour). ======================================= Some malls and business establishments had Halloween displays out of decorative pumpkins and scarecrows during the Pre-Halloween and All Souls day season from October 20 to November 1. Displays like this plus the tradition of Trick or Treat among children are now popular among Filipino Children. ======================================= The Urban Gardener is an official electronic publication (in PDF Format) of the Plant Biotechnology Project, Research & Development Center, Rizal Technological University, Boni Avenue, Mandaluyong City, Philippines. It is published monthly. For more information, please inquire thru email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and landline (+632) 534-8267 Local 135 or Fax (+632) 534-9710. Edited by N.R. Bautista © November 2010 The Plant Biotechnology Project Committee is composed of: Alexander B. Quilang, Norberto R. Bautista, & Jovita A. Anit.
“To plant a garden is to believe in the future”
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.