Holiday gardens with Family

By Michelle Domocol
Back to Inflourish: Cebu Blog

December is the holiday season throughout Cebu. Families, schools, churches, restaurants, and offices are busy planning for Christmas parties, Sinulog festivities and other barangay fiestas. Many households and local businesses are prepping for the arrival of overseas family members. In that spirit of holiday festivities and joyful reunions, here are two fun family activities to share:

Activity #1: Family Storytelling Garden. Grow your own magical, native tree with your children, nieces or nephews. Certain native tree is perfect for small spaces or cozy backyards. As the tree matures, you can surround it with add seating, tables, cheery decorative lights, and art. You and your family can spend a fun time taking pictures, sharing meals and telling stories around your magical tree. Here are some native trees with their own magical, natural qualities:

Winged Alibangbang (Piliostigma malabaricum ). This beauty is adorned with flowers shaped like cattleya orchids. The leaves are resemble butterfly wings. It grows to 10 meters with either white, purple, or yellow blossoms. They are resistant to fires and droughts. And their strong roots are used to regenerate dry, hilly areas in the Philippines.

Perfumed Champak (Magnolia champaca). This tree possess beautiful yellowish-orange blooms with a fragrant aroma. In a small space, it will adapt to a compact 8 meters. In the wild, they can grow to 50 meters.

Mighty Maritima (Drypetes falcata). This small, straight-trunked tree symbolizes strength. It’s strong roots famously withstands floods and typhoons.

Activity # 2: Lucky New Year’s Garden. Usually, families in Cebu prepare bowls of round, lucky fruits to welcome prosperity. What other traditions do you have on New Year’s Eve? In my house, we where polka dots, have a bowl of lucky fruit, turn on all the lights.
How about another tradition–A Lucky New Year’s Garden?
With the children in your family, grow a lucky fruit to celebrate the upcoming new year.
You and your family can plant lucky pomelo, star fruit, or limonsito (Photo 1) in containers in your backyard.

Here are some general reminders when growing fruit trees in containers:

  • A: Beginner gardeners should buy a young grafted or marcotted tree with an established ball of roots (rootball). Pick a dwarf variety so it fits your small space. Grafted pomelo, star fruit, and calamansi all like full sun exposure. So give them a bright, sunny spot in your garden.
  • B: Give your fruit trees well-composted soil that drains well. Water them regularly for the first few months. As they mature only water them when the soil is dry.
  • C: Choose a container that is 30%-50% bigger than the rootball of your fruit tree. Young trees (aka saplings) already have an established ball of roots. Make sure your container is big enough for them to spread and stay healthy.

Hope you’re inspired to create fun memories in the garden. Happy Holidays and have a fun-filled time with friends and family!

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