From picking the right kind of soil and choosing plants that will thrive well, here are a few tips for creating a garden appropriate for Philippine climate
The Philippines has a particularly temperamental climate: one day it’s cook-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk hot; the next, it’s raining like there’s no tomorrow. And it’s not just us humans who suffer from the sudden changes; our plants take a beating too, which makes it important that when we design and maintain our gardens, we keep in mind the extreme nature of our country’s tropical climate.
If you’re thinking about starting your own home garden or you’d like to improve the condition of your existing one, here are a few helpful tips.
Use the right soil
The soil is going to be the foundation of your garden, which means picking the wrong kind will render you doomed from the start. You want the kind of soil that will support the kind of plants for a tropical garden, which means it should be rich, but should also drain easily. It would be helpful for you to use organic mulch to keep it moist, as well as compost to give the soil the proper nutrients it needs for growing your plants.
Pick the right plants
When choosing a flower or shrub to grow in your garden, you can’t just select based on which one will produce the prettiest bloom. Pick a plant that will thrive in subtropical or tropical climate to ensure that it can handle the weather patterns that the country experiences. Hibiscus or gumamela, for example, loves the tropics and will thrive in the type of soil and climate the Philippines has. The caladium or elephant ear is native to South and Central America, but are naturalized in various tropical islands. Passiflora or passion flowers are vines common in Asia and are best planted in the shady part of your garden. Other plants to consider are bamboo, orchids, ferns, rubber trees, and trumpet vines.
Create an efficient layout
Tropical plants tend to grow well in shaded areas. Summers in the country tend to be merciless, which means planting in a completely empty part of the yard will put them at risk of getting scorched beyond repair. Pick an area in your garden that will expose it just enough to the sun, like under a tree or the portion of the garden under the protrusion of your roof. Also, make sure you group plants according to their watering and mulching needs.
Plan your watering schedule and habits
Because tropical plants need lots of watering to survive, smart irrigation is an essential part of your garden planning. A hose will do the job well, but it tends to waste water when you keep it running. A drip line—a hose with multiple small holes all over it—ensures you can soak the soil well without using too much water, so you save money on water bills and your plants won’t suffer from over-watering. If you don’t have a drip line, a spray can will do just as well. Also, try to water your plants early in the morning. This will ensure that the water won’t just evaporate under the heat of the sun. Here’s another water-saving tip: incorporate a stone walkway into your design so there’s less soil to water.