FLOWER gardens have emerged to be potential sources of livelihood and micro entrepreneurs are seizing the opportunity.

Some gardeners earn out of plants grown on a small plot in their backyard. There are also rare gardens for specific flowers like Hibiscus rosa sinensis which is locally known as gumamela or rosemallows.

The gumamela comes in many colors like red, yellow, orange, white, purple, pink, and other color combinations that make it a popular ornamental plant.

Gardener Shelalane Custodio, 41, returned home to Davao City after nine years of working away from her family.

When she decided to go home, she knew she needed to come up with a business. She tried different kinds of businesses but also failed many times.

Moving to a new community in Catalunan Pequeño in 2016, Shelalane was encouraged by her neighbors in the area since most of them are gardeners.

To make it different from the others, she chose to focus on planting and propagating gumamela since it is easy to come up with a new breed or variety, though it takes more extra effort in taking care of the plant for nine months to a year.

She started planting little by little and just found herself having over a hundred varieties of gumamela in her 330-square-meter garden called Shela's Garden.

“Although I have not seen yet the peak of success in this flower business, I saw myself growing here. What is good in this is that you only need to provide a one-time capital and just be patient in propagating. There is profit in here,” she said.

Among the advantages of having gumamela business include a higher price for bigger flower bloom like the acapulco gold variety which could bloom up to eight inches. This could be sold up to P5,000. Other else starts from P150. Shela's Garden also displayed other plants like fruit trees, citrus and others.

Most of her buyers are buying for beautification in resorts, hotels, and other recreational areas in Mindanao. Some restaurants in the city are using this flower as part of the ingredients of some known dishes, while others used it to make tea as a treatment to lower body temperature, treat heart and nerve diseases, and as a diuretic to increase urine production.

According to an article in healthline.com, medicinal uses of this flower include weight loss and cancer and relieve other conditions like upset stomach, high blood pressure, bacterial infections, and fever. This only means that there is a sure market for this flower for its different usage.

Shela's Garden is now participating in the annual Kadayawan Agri Trade Fair 2019 in SM City Grounds from August 1 to September 1. Freebies from Shela's Garden will be given for buyers who will purchase a minimum of 10 pieces.

“This is my first time joining in this event. Only a few of us are focused on gumamela cultivators. Others, however, only offer around 10 varieties while I offer about a hundred,” she said.

Interested buyers could visit Shela's Garden in the trade fair and they also entertain online purchases through their Facebook page.