Some delights of having a garden are watching butterflies that fly from one flower to another, the sight of dragonflies and damselflies pumping up their wings, listening to the chirping birds, smelling the sweet, gentle fragrance of sampaguita flowers (jasmine), the flashing croaking of frogs in the small pond, the elegance of the orchid trees in full bloom, the buzzing sounds of the bumble bees foraging and pollinating flowers, and sitting on the soft, thick grass under the shady trees. What a wonderful feeling.
We had a garden because it was a good supplement. Among the vegetables we grew were the standards, such as string beans, sweet potatoes, okra, eggplant green onions, kangkong (swamp-cabbage or water cress) growing in the small pond, camote vines. We planted tomatoes, too. The trees in the garden were mangga (mango), avocado, sampalok (tamarind), kaimito (star apple), bayabas (guava), kamyas (averrhoa bilimbi), tsiko (chico), tsesa (canistel), saging (banana), orchid, duhat (Java plum/blackberry), kalamansi (citrus fruit), atis (sugar apple or custard apple), langka (jackfruit), mabolo (velvet apple), and papaya.
It was a small lot, but very fertile. We never used any spray or chemical fertilizer. To ward off insects, we collected and piled up dried leaves and burned them, the cloud of smoke billowed around and floated up in the air. We did it in the morning and late in the afternoon. Weeding was tiresome; sometimes, we let weeds grew because they looked interesting.
After the sun had gone down we enjoyed strolling through the yard peering at the plants and occasionally pinching off a leaf and sniffing it. It was truly enchanting.
My parents had a lot of love and patience for gardening.
The sampaguita Jasmine (Arabian Jasmine) was adopted as the national flower of the Philippines since 1934. The sampaguita bears a white, star-shaped flower, which blooms for the full year. The flower opens at night and lasts for about one day, producing a unique sweet scent. For the Filipino people, the flower is the symbol of purity, simplicity, humility and strength. Its blossom is celebrated in Philippine legends, stories and songs. It is believed that the flower was brought from the Himalayan areas to the Philippines in the 17th century.