Ornaments of Your Mind and Garden

The round leaf Centella asiatica is now enjoying the popularity of gardeners and plant collectors. In the Philippines, folks have supposedly known about it for centuries. It's called Takip-kuhol here.

The weather here in this part of Southeast Asia is just perfect for growing Ipomoea batatas and many other kinds of good -looking herbs. Spices and medicinal herbs are amazing because of their chemical compounds and healing properties. However, the artist in me and my admiration for native plants drive me to go on with my herb gardening. Some of the native plants I have are thriving even under cramped, medium rise housing conditions. The local Taheebo for instance or ‘Balbas pusa’ (Orthosiphon aristatus) is doing very well in re-used containers while its more popular counterpart, the Tabebuia avellanedae seems to be responding well to the coarse ‘yeso’ potting material that I found here.

On the other hand, my cute Centella asiatica (Gotu kola) grows happily in compost material while the Gotu kola (ricefield variety) that is somewhat heart – shaped may be encouraged to cover an entire garden patch outdoors.

This is the Gotu kola that grows plentifully along rice fields. Know of its benefits & side effects before you eat it. Better yet, consult your doctor first.

Contrary to what many gardeners think, verbenas are quite easy to grow. If you plant a branch (about the size of a matchstick) in the ground, it will take root in just a few days. The lemon grass (Andropogon citratus) given to me by my industrious neighbor (an eminent professor in our neighborhood) grows as a matter of course inside ice cream tubs while my one-a-day plant also does well inside recycled 2-liter Coke bottles. Talinum paniculatum is rich in iron and if you happen to be pallid or off-key, one raw leaf from this herb will make you strong again. Herbs and shrubs are good ornaments. While some pursue them because they need an aphrodisiac or a cure, I enjoy collecting these for their varied shapes and growing habits. Our prolific native Cattleya for example amuses me as it takes well to clay flower pots, plastic pots and piss pots! Despite the presence of white ants, the soil here in Diliman, Quezon City can be conducive to growth and prosperity. Creativity and artistic expression may at times be stifled but the earth and atmosphere is amazingly fecund and fertile.

When you take a plant into your garden, know everything there is to know about it. Learn also why virgin coconut oil is good for you. Remember that ‘wisdon dwells with prudence’. If you care for and grow plants, blessings will follow. Psalms 65 : 10 reads ;

       “You water its ridges abundantly, You settle its  furrows, You make it soft with showers, You bless its growth.”

Remember to advocate safe gardening. Wear gloves. Happy planting!

 : – )


Pascual, Rory V., Dr. Gary Sy: Health and Beauty Beyond Senior Year in Woman Today (Magazine), Nov. 2009, page 33. (www.drgarysy.com)

The Holy Bible, New King James Version

various internet links on herb gardening




About cathydeleon

I was a student of the late Constancio Bernardo and Jose Joya. I also had the privilege to have Rod Paras Perez, Napoleon "Billy" Abueva, Romeo Mananquil, Rafael Asuncion, Virginiaflor Agbayani and Lito Carating as my mentors. Larry Alcala's work at the Commission on Audit was done with a little help from me and another fine arts graduate. It was as well a privilege to meet many well known Filipino artists like Juvenal Sanso, Nena Saguil, Cesar Legaspi, Ang Kiukok, Onib Olmedo, Boy Rodriguez, Norma Belleza, Jerry Araos, Fred Baldemor, Esmeraldo Dans, Dave Aquino, and many other equally prominent visual artists. After a few years of working in a gallery, I took up graduate studies and finished my M.A. degree. Consequently I took up Philippine Studies (Philippine Society and Culture). The course was a consortium between the UP Asian Center, UP College of Social Sciences & Philosophy (CSSP) and the College of Arts & Letters (CAL). I finished my Ph.D. degree a few years ago.
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