Saturday, February 27, 2010

Hard to Say Goodbye to Rose

Last December of 2009 on my way to the market, I stumble upon a pushcart vendor selling potted plants. A rose plant captured my attention as it appeared too beautiful to resist with its three deep-red colored blooms, a different variety from my other rose plant. I bought it for P150 (more than US$3) which made me think that I got a great deal as it is very hard to find potted rose plant for sale within the area. As I still need to go to the market, I temporarily placed my purchase at my uncle’s house which was just nearby instead of climbing 40 feet upstairs back home. My uncle liked the plant so he put it right in front of his window.

I read some articles saying that there are rose varieties which are hard to cultivate thus I anticipated that the one I bought might be one of those kind. So instead of bringing the rose to my garden and suffer an untimely demise on my hand, I left it to the care of my uncle who in his own way was able to cultivate one variety of mini roses in his own urban garden thus he is more an experienced gardener than me.

Weeks passed and the rose seemed to be doing just fine though I noticed some white spots growing on its branches. I thought it was nothing to be worried about but after a week when I visited the plant again, almost everything was covered with white flakes including the leaves. It could have been the changing season that caused this to my rose thus I brought the plant to our home to do whatever I can to save it. When I made a research about it, it looks like my rose suffered from a heavy fungal infection called powdery mildew. It is said that powdery mildew develops rapidly during hot weather with cool moist night. Oh, so perfect time as that’s exactly how the weather was the past days. So it is right that the change of season is really causing damage to my beautiful rose. It is being advised to prune and destroy affected parts of the plant thus when I assessed the infestation, it looks like there is little hope left for this plant but since it’s hard for me to say goodbye to something as lovely as this, I better not give up. I tried to follow the instructions stated on the various articles that I read and I hope it will bring a better outcome in the next few days.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Need To Perk Up My Urban Garden

Lately I have been too busy with site development thus I slightly neglected another favorite pastime which is gardening.  If other people find comfort caring for their pet animals, I find solace tending to those emerald beauties.  I used to do gardening with the kids during weekend but since there were minor changes in my to-do list since the start of the year, I left my garden to the care of my house helper.   The other day, my eldest child called my attention because he noticed that I very seldom visit my garden the past days and he told me that some of my plants were already starting to wither despite diligent efforts of my maid to water the plants everyday. Obviously the intense heat is already causing damage to my beloved garden (due to El Nino) so I must act fast and take pre-emptive measures to save it from possible damage.          

From the time we moved in to this apartment, I asked my husband that I wanted to set up a garden.  Later I learned from Ms. Tita, one of my mentors, that it is now being referred to as “urban garden” based on the seminar that she attended. The term was coined to indicate a place for vegetation within the city, which most likely are collection of potted plants since most areas in the city are already paved.    

I told my dad and mom about my plan and asked for some help from them.  They have different kinds of flora back there in our ancestral home but I do not have the time to visit the place 36kms away to acquire some cuttings since my busy schedule wouldn’t permit me.  I called dad to request if he could bring me some cuttings for which he gladly accommodate. I bought gardening tools  and gardening book to satiate my needs for the hobby.  I also bought about 20 kilos of soil for $4 (P10/k) as there is no free soil available in the city.

Later on, my parent-in-law learned of my plan about the garden, at that time, my husband’s mother was replacing her own collection with red-flowering Euphorbia plant and she decided to give away those yellow-colored ones.  My father-in-law painstakingly brought me pots after pots of flora until it filled more than a square meter of the veranda.  Aside from that, friends also gave me some from their own collection.  With that I was more than ten pots of plants richer J  and more than a day happier as I was able to have my garden without much hassle.

 This garden has a sentimental value for me as this has been the result of collective efforts of caring people.  I just so loved these people for nurturing my leisure pursuit and I am thankful to them for lending a hand and encouraging me to keep doing what I love to do thus I cannot just let this garden be left to nothingness.

Square Foot Gardening BookPicnic Time 5 Piece Garden Tool Set With Tote And Folding Seat #542-93-121Pruning Made Easy: A Gardener's Visual Guide to When and How to Prune Everything, from Flowers to Trees (Storey's Gardening Skills Illustrated Series)Akro-Mils RZJMEDI Medium Stack-A-Pot, 30-Quart


Sunday, February 21, 2010

El Nino on its way to its peak

The heat is becoming unbearable these days though my temperature reading hasn't changed much since last week at 86 degrees.  I am at 40 feet above ground thus my temperature reading was a little lower than the actual weather forecast.  In case you haven’t heard the news, the Philippines is currently experiencing dry spells due to the onset of the El Nino phenomenon which started since December of 2009.

According to reports, the below normal rainfall condition were noted in most of Luzon and Visayas and drier surroundings in parts of  eastern, central and  western Mindanao.  It is currently causing damage in the water sector as most of the rivers, which are the sources of irrigation waters, have started to dry up.  The same condition was observed in major dams that supply water for household and industrial uses as these dams hit alarming level.   The dry spell has also caused damage to agriculture amounting to billions of pesos.  The public has been warned about heat-related illness such as heat stroke and accidents such as fire that may become prevalent.  The government has already issued advisories and carried out plans to counter the effects of El NiƱo.  We have been through the same problems time and again and lucky for us we are well assimilated being in a calamity-prone country, nevertheless, we should not push our luck too far. Time to be reminded....

Anyways, it only says one thing, the heat is really on, better be prepared for any incident that might happen.  The more I feel the heat, the more I like to escape from the city for a while and hit one of those beautiful beaches or island cove in Boracay, Bohol, Bicol or Palawan. I just can't wait....

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Time to be Reminded (While we Still Have a Chance)

It was 3 o’clock in the afternoon and my room temperature reading was at 30C. In the past years during this time of the month, it seems to be the coolest time of the season because of the melting snow from the other parts of the world but I heard in the news the other day that summer time is setting in very early this year. In other countries, excessive snow, torrential rain and flash flood has been the latest news while in the local scene, water shortage due to El Nino phenomenon has been the concern this very hour. It was only some months ago when the country suffered from flash flood and now we must brace ourselves for another imminent possibility of calamitous event.

A lot has been said about this changing weather pattern and most studies point to global warming as the reason for this. Many great plans have already been under discussion, relevant laws have already been enacted and then WHAT? Is there really a way for us to stop or reverse the condition that our planet has been going through? I guess the answer lies in these simple passages…

What have we done?

"I brought you into a plentiful land to eat its fruits and its good things. But when you entered you defiled my land, and made my heritage an abomination." (Jeremiah 2:7)

"Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet?" (Ezekiel 34:17-18)

What happens if we never stop defiling the land?

"Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field till no space is left and you live alone in the land. The LORD almighty has declared in my hearing: 'Surely the great houses will become desolate, the fine mansions left without occupants. A ten-acre vineyard will produce only a bath of wine, a homer of seed only an ephah of grain.'" (Isaiah 5:8-10)

"The earth dries up and withers, the world languishes and withers, the heavens languish together with the earth. The earth lies polluted under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse devours the earth; its inhabitants suffer for their guilt." (Isaiah 24:4-6)

"You have polluted the land with your whoring and wickedness. Therefore the showers have been withheld, and the spring rain has not come." (Jeremiah 3:2-3)

"He turned rivers into a desert, flowing springs into thirsty ground, and fruitful land into a salt waste, because of the wickedness of those who lived there." (Psalm 107:33-34)

What can we do now?

"'The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants. Throughout the country that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land.” (Leviticus 25:23-24)

"When you are attacking a town and the war drags on, you must not cut down the trees with your axes. You may eat the fruit, but do not cut down the trees. Are the trees your enemies, that you should attack them?" (Deuteronomy 20:19)

"The land itself must observe a sabbath to the Lord. For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and garner their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a sabbath of rest, a sabbath to the Lord.... The land is to have a year of rest." (Leviticus 25:2-5)

"If you follow my statutes and keep my commandments and observe them faithfully, I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit." (Leviticus 26:3-4)

Maybe just a while ago you tended your crop in your Farmville, but when was the last time you cared to cultivate a piece of real land for a tree or a plant? Or should we just wait for this earth to become like this?

"It will be made a wasteland, parched and desolate before me; the whole land will be laid waste because there is no one who cares." (Jeremiah 12:11)

The time and the chance is still in our hands, let us not wait until there is no more hope left for us.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Search for the beauty within you

Since I have said in my previous post that I am starting this year on a new note (see related post: Earth Hour 2010) I really need to keep my promise to myself that I intend to go green this year. Now I am also getting to be conscious of the products I use at home.

Aside from replacing energy-intensive appliances and limiting the use of electricity inside the house, I also get to monitor the waste that is going out of our home. I started to make an inventory of all products I use from cooking essentials to bathroom necessities and I opted to make a major change in my shopping habit, I need to exert an extra effort to only use and patronize products that share the same principle as I have.

Even if I still have some stocks left at home, I already started searching for the things I intend to buy. I went to the supermarkets trying to find that environment-friendly local products to bring home but to my disappointment, I seem to be looking for a single coin under the vast sea.  What I did find out was only few companies really make an effort to encourage their consumers to be environment-conscious. It’s a good thing that I came across a product line that is not only into the business of making their consumers beautiful but also encourages earth-friendly disposition.  I was really glad to find a product with such initiative,  it says a lot in their packaging "not tested on animals", "does not contain animal ingredients", "formulated without parabens and phthalates" and there is a statement that encourages consumer to recycle the packaging.

What a nice way to be beautiful and be earth-friendly at the same time.  Still need to search some other nature-friendly products for the home though.  It's a strange but exciting feeling as if I am into treasure-hunting ;-)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Be Earth-Friendly and Save More

Although I am still too far from being a true-blue environmentalist, certain circumstances somewhat drive me closer and closer to that vocation. While my parents had instilled in me the importance of nature, WWF has effectively influenced me to become more environment-conscious. The reaction is somewhat contagious as I see in my kids the enthusiasm of being responsible earthlings, too.

Aside from that, I was able to save considerable amount of money by being earth-friendly. With that I have proven that I have nothing to lose but a lot more to gain when I put into practice even a little thing I do for nature.

I reduce, reuse and recycle almost anything that gets inside my home but when I need to throw away something, I make sure to segregate them accordingly. I can see in the face of our garbage collector that he was happy getting all the trash coming from our home despite the fact that he needs to get upstairs to the 4th floor every single day. There are days when I have nothing to throw away but still he would ask to be sure. I think that is something to thank for.

It has become my habit of switching off lights and unplugging appliances when they are not in use as it has been said that appliances on standby mode still use much power and add up to electric consumption. I also use compact fluorescent light (CFL) in the house which is said to be more energy efficient. I may not have solar panels or windmills to generate electricity by natural means but I was able to take advantage of the sun and wind in our everyday living. When my husband and I first searched for an apartment, we made sure that we will get an energy-efficient place to live in. Large window is one of the requirements we considered so we may be able to enjoy as much sun light and air.

We were lucky enough to find one and as a result we were able to limit the use of artificial light inside our house during the day, we replaced our automatic washing machine to a single tub as we were able to dry our clothes outside in the fresh air and sunlight. We have given up the use of air conditioning unit since natural air freely gets into the house and when there are times that it really gets too hot, our tolerance was powered up by our desire to reduce our impact to our purses and of course to the environment. Now I am reaping the benefit of my being earth-friendly after saving much in my electric bill. Need I compute the benefits? :-)

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