CEBU

Neri: ‘Plantitas’ in town

Eve

WHAT or should I say who is a “plantita?” This term has come to the fore now that so many ladies are into gardening. “Plantita” is, of course, a play on words, combining the words “plant” and “tita” to describe a lady who is happily using her proverbial green thumb to collect and cultivate different varieties of plants in all colors and sizes. She spends time and effort tending to her plant kingdom.

Penny Navarro Carvajal is a transplant from Metro Manila where she grew up in a home with a lush garden lovingly cared for by her Mom. When she married Alan Carvajal of Travelways, she adjusted beautifully to life in Cebu and made her own garden. She said: “I started with different varieties of Pothos basically because they’re one of the easiest plants to propagate and take care of. Now I have more plant varieties, both indoor and outdoor, and I take care of each one differently depending on their needs and requirements.”

Penny spends two to three hours a day caring for her plants. What excites her and gives her a different kind of fulfillment are “budding blossoms, unfurling leaves and new sprouts,” and she proudly declares that “my plants have always given me happiness and positive vibes at home.”

A newbie to gardening, Arlyne Hisoler Romoff shared that she turned to plants when she felt that she needed to take a break from K-dramas which occupied most of her time during the strict lockdown days. She decided on decorative indoor plants when she joined the plant bandwagon. Calathea was her first choice because it is known to purify the air, and what’s more, she loves its variegated leaves which close at night and open up in the morning. Because of this, it’s also called Prayer Plant.

Next to catch Arlyne’s eye were succulents and cacti which she found ideal for table centerpieces. It didn’t take long for her to get hooked and soon she was in search for rare species of her favorite plants. Bigger houseplants like Monstera Deliciosa and the Chinese Banana Palm attracted her and she added these to her collection.

Arlyne checks on her plants twice a day and gives them the care they need. She discloses that this new hobby of hers has boosted her general well-being.

Sisters Susan Villanueva Rodriguez and Monina Villanueva have always been plant lovers but it is Monina who is the dedicated gardener. She believes that she “inherited” her green thumb from her late unmarried aunts who brought her up. All three were into plants particularly orchids and roses. When Monina is in the garden, time flies for her. She putters around and gives her plants tender loving care. She grows all kinds of greens including succulents and vegetables.

As for Susan, though she maintains a well-kept garden, she confesses that her serious love affair with plants began only when the lockdown took place. It was then that she found time to look long and hard at her pots and patches of greens and blooms, and resolved to give them more attention. And once she had started her morning and afternoon ritual of tending to them, she never looked back. Seeing her plants heathy and blooming thrills her to the point that she feels like kissing them and yes, even talking to them.


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