- When i bought in 1992 what eventually will become my private home for the aged (namely, ME), i was impressed by the fact that the house was built not at the center of the lot but at the back giving me a lot of space in front for my garden and future retirement home-cum-research center business.
So i started with durantha hedges, ylang-ylang, fortune plants, palmeras, chinese bamboo, money tree and dama de noche. the place already has a blooming sampaguita plant, two coconut trees, 1 native guava plant, 1 langka (jackfruit) tree, 1 camias and 1 guyabano tree. at the gate is a talisay tree that provides a lot of shade to passersby and those waiting for trisikad to bring to the highway. I never did like high maintenance plants like orchids, etc. I prefer plants with simple foliage and fragrant blooms. The only plant my place needs is a champaca tree which is hard to find.
when the ylang-ylang and dama de noche started blooming, my place became fragrant all day long. The ylang-ylang scent which became the base for perfumes permeates the house the whole day while the dama de noche (lady of the night) exudes its magic at night.
it is the dama de noche that caught the noses of my neighbors. at first they thought i was using a new air freshener. they liked the scent so much, they asked where i bought the freshener. so i told them, it was the dama they've been smelling. soon, i was deluged with requests for cuttings of the dama.
When the home owners association officers named our subdivision streets, ilang-ilang became our street name. Was it because of my ylang ylang? perhaps.
my garden may not always seem to be well-kept, but i love gardening during my spare time. so i hire local boys to do the weeding and cleaning of my garden. as a bonus, i let them climb the coconut trees and gather as many bukos and niyog as they want on condition that they also cut down drying leaves.
at the gate and at the back, i also plant bougainvilleas whose thorny branches are a deterrent to trespassers. I was also given a cutting of a vine with hundreds of tiny flowers (I'm researching this plant). The vine interspersed with the bougainvillea.
El nino had wrought a lot of damage to my plants especially the duranthas. termites ate the roots of the langka and like efficient tree cutters, were able to fell it.
the rest survived. the fortune plants are now higher than my house, so are the palmeras and guava tree. the sampaguita, ylang ylang and dama de noche give a calm ambience to my home.
recently, i added a hammock (duyan) which i tied between the guava and guyabano trees. now i spend summer afternoons reading and napping in the hammock under the shade, with a pitcher of ice lemon tea within reach.