Iligan City, Lanao del Norte, Philippines

Plants vs. Anxiety

The anxiety brought by the pandemic has left me paralyzed for months. When the country implemented lock down in March, I coped by indulging in Netflix/Tik Tok binge. Hoping that the old normal will be back in a few weeks, I was merely trying to ward off boredom. Remember that time when we all made Dalgona coffee? Yeah, that was cute compared to the settling in of the reality that we have to live with COVID-19 for quite some time. From a frothy drink, my coping strategy has shifted to potted plants.

I have taken my old DSLR out of its storage case so I can photograph my babies. 

Succulents and cacti have taken my fancy. These slow growing plants need just the right amount of care or else they will die. Over the years of owning a few, I have learned that loving them too much kills them. That is, over-watering can rot their roots and eventually the whole plant. I used to not care about the type of soil where I plant them. Now  got them specialized substrate that is most suited to them.  

These are our caladiums. My sister found them in a small pot in a neglected part of our garden. I was thin and pale. We repotted it and so far, they are growing well. Every new leaf that unfurls give me so much joy. I patiently wait for new buds to emerge.

I do not know what this hanging plant is called. Our neighbor gave it to my sister when she bought oregano, aloe vera, and succulent from her. This started from three 5-inch cuttings. It has been just over a month and look at them becoming more lush. To keep hanging plants from looking sparse, regularly prune them and plant cuttings in the same pot so many plants are growing from it. That will give it a fuller look. 

We have an abundance of snake plants too! And a plant with violet underside that I have no idea what is is called. 

We have a golden pothos too. I want to eventually move this inside the house when it has grown long. While we have no suitable hanging pot for it, it will stay outdoors hanging on the guava tree.

The said guava tree. 

I have also dipped my green thumb into the art of bonsai. This young plant was given to me as a birthday gift. I have repotted it in a small and shallow pot and wired the trunk and stems into my desired position. It is far from becoming a beautiful and aged bonsai. But I look forward to the years of pruning and wiring this baby. I have other bonsai materials too, but they are not yet picture-ready.

I have also grown vegetables. These are my tomato seedlings. They grew out of a rotting piece of tomato fruit. Right now they seem slow to grow. It's part of the process I guess, learning the hacks. 

Lastly, this is my brother's pigeon that he lets free to roam around the garden. It doesn't fly far. Its presence is a welcome addition to the garden. Although it lets most of its droppings on my aircon unit. 

Gardening is truly therapeutic. I barely get out of the house and see the outside world. When I step out of our door, it is mainly to see my plants and how they are growing, to water them, to prune them, and just to admire them. My plants keep me looking forward to waking up to another day just to see the new buds and stalks that have emerged. They keep my anxiety at bay.