Saturday, October 13, 2007

Our Garden




As a child, our backyard garden in Manila was surrounded with fruit bearing trees, vegetables and herbs. I can still remember the time spent climbing the kaimito (star apple), santol, guava, Indian mango, coconut and banana trees. Or the weekend routine of searching with hands and feet for potatoes and sweet potatoes. Plus collecting kangkong and malunggay leaves for another round of Nanay’s (mom’s) fast lunch.

And who can forget play ‘cooking’ with the use of aloe vera leaves? Those were the best times. It saddened me when the big plot of land had to give way to apartment compounds. Thus, instead of rich soil and fresh air; we suddenly found ourselves in the middle of cemented blocks and narrow spaces.

That is why, I am really happy to discover that my kids enjoy the ‘best of times’ of my childhood; though in another continent and with the variety of my childhood dreams. In our garden, there is something blooming, every season.

Our backyard garden alone produces strawberries, tomatoes, cucumber, melon, onions, carrots, garlic, different green salads, paprika and herbs such as parsley and chives. When these things are in season, we avoid going to the grocery’s produce section. We just stroll back for what we need. We just keep on adding (cocktail tomatoes for our little girl) or subtracting (no more chilli peppers), depending on the emerging favorites. My husband’s green thumb is the garden’s boon. My only contribution is to water them, and I sometimes manage to forget it.

My in-laws garden on the mountain, meanwhile, thrives with trees that bear apple, cherry, peach, almonds and other fruits that I cannot give a name in English for. The vines crawl with green and blue and red grapes or with red and blue raspberries. The shrubs teems with black and red currants, gooseberries and blackberries. The strawberries have their home here, too. Veggies include beans, squash, potatoes, tomatoes, leek, carrots, zucchini and lots more. I haven’t bothered to know the whole list because there is no specific harvest time. We go as we please, or depending on what we need.

My 86 year old father-in-law takes care of this garden. He drives his motorbike, almost everyday when weather permits, during summer. He mows, cuts the grass, waters the plants, crawl on his hands and knees to remove undesirables from creating damage to his precious plants. And the rest of the season, he just checks occasionally or before winter, he makes sure that the garden is ready for winter. Sometimes, my husband brings the whole family for a picnic there while he takes over the task from his dad. When we say picnic we mean, no picnic baskets — we just go around the garden and pluck what we need. Idyllic, really!

Who would have thought I’d find my secret ‘dream of a garden’ by getting married?

First posted at PMN:Home and Garden.

3 comments:

Heart of Rachel said...

Hi Raq. Your children are blessed to have access to a vast garden rich with all kinds of fruit bearing trees, vegetables and herbs.

I grew up in the city and I always longed for rare opportunities where I could pick fruits and vegetables.

Jeannie Hizon said...

HI Raquel, thanks for sharing this. It's wonderful to read about it and your children are beautiful! My brother and I spent a lot of time at my grandparents and we climbed guava and star apple trees. At home, we had our santol tree.
Do you have pictures anywhere of your gardens / vegetable and flowers? I'll look at your other posts.

cheers!
Jeannie

raqgold said...

rach, i really consider that a big plus, a spacious garden that bears fruits and veggies!

jeannie, wow, we have the same childhood memories of climbing guava and star apple trees :D i have loads of photos of this garden scattered in this blog.. have fun finding them!