Taking root: Plant momma 101

YOU may know Jenny Uyking best as the woman behind Jenny's Kitchen Davao where she creates intricately-designed bento art boxes and cakes, and rolls out mouthwatering homemade goodies.

Or, if you follow her on social media, you may have noticed her adorable twinning outfits with her eight-year-old daughter Natalie Kate who shares her kikay mom's fondness for fashion even at a tender age.

The mompreneur who works in the family's buy and sell business is also an active barter enthusiast of Davao who loves to make gorgeous tablescapes at home.

These days, her fascination for plants has taken root, pun here intended, adding another passion project to her growing list. She is "Jen of all trades," after all.

Connecting with plants

"I love plants because it helps keep me grounded. There's something about digging in the dirt and growing living plants that settles my soul and helps me feel alive inside. Plants connect us to hope, anticipation, learning and nurturing," says Jenny, who is married to businessman Earlan Uyking.

"Owning a plant can improve your well-being. Aside from purifying the air, they are good for one's mental health. Surrounding yourself with houseplants can boost your concentration and help your psychological well-being," she shares.

Jenny reveals that a lot of her plants were given by beloved friends, customers, and family. "I'd get cuttings from people and we'd swap them. Then, I started collecting the rarer ones. It is fun to start with one inspiring first plant and then build from there. Collections are more fun when you're learning about something new."

Plant momma 101

For those who want to start their own plant collection, Jenny suggests that they include gardening essentials such as pruning shears, gardening gloves, garden fork, hoe, trowel, hose or watering can, fertilizer, small stool, pots, soil tester, and digging shovel.

"Beginners can start with easy and low maintenance plants like Sanseveria, Aglaonema, Cactus/Succulents, Peace Lily, and Welcome or ZZ Plant," Jenny recommends.

Jenny attests that the Aglaonema is one of the best indoor air purifying plants because aside from releasing fresh oxygen, it is a natural humidifier.

"They like to be kept moist but not soggy so just water them two to three times a week when topsoil is dry. The plant likes bright indirect light, so they are simply perfect inside the house near the window," she advises.

Stayin' alive

Want to keep your plants alive? Jenny shares that it starts with getting the right plant. Choosing the correct pot and drainage are extremely important as well.

"Use good potting soil. Try your best when watering, fertilizing, and repotting your plants. Give them plenty of light but do take note that every plant has different preferences in terms of shade versus sun," she points out.

Another enjoyable and integral part of collecting plants are the pretty pots and accessories that make them even more eye-catching.

"Before the lockdown, I scoured the department stores, local shops, and hardware for planters and plant racks. For native-looking planters, you can buy them at Jonah's Craft Store. A lot of online sellers are offering pots, too. You just have to check the price and quality," Jenny says.

"Being a plant momma is not necessarily an expensive hobby, but it can be initially if you are not mindful. My plants are more than just a hobby. For me, it is a way of life," Jenny declares.

E-mail the author at mom.about.town.dvo@gmail.com. Visit http://momabouttowndavao.blogspot.com/.


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