You don’t have to troop outside of Manila to get your kids to love nature. Gardening can do the same thing, and it offers invaluable lessons, not to mention a unique family bonding experience. Tending a garden, whether it’s a plot in the backyard or a potted plant in the balcony, teaches them responsibility. Harvesting food from plants they have grown builds up their self-confidence. Kids (and we should include the grown-ups, too) can quickly grasp the cause-and-effect relationship among plants, animals (and humans), and even weather.
Zero gardening experience? We think being clueless works in this situation. You and your kids can discover and appreciate gardening together. Start slowly, and the best place to do so is a garden center. Here are three of our favorite places to explore.
This place has a well-informed and helpful staff that can show you how urban gardening can be fun. The shop has different areas for indoor plants, succulents, herbs, flowering, and ornamental plants. Tip: the shop sells Venus Fly Trap, which the kids (and kids-at-heart) go crazy for. If you’re serious about putting up a greenhouse in your space, this place can help you build it. Cedarhills also offers urban gardening seminars for all ages. When you’re done looking and shopping, you can drop by its cafe where you can enjoy organic meals and fresh smoothies. Where: Panay Avenue, Quezon City. Open Mondays to Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (closed on Sundays). Call 926-2707 / 0907-ORGANIC
Agri-Aqua Network International, or AANI (derived from the Tagalog word “ani,” which means “harvest”), was established by a group of businessmen who wanted to share their passion for agriculture and aquaculture to regular folks like us. Go here for the fruit seedlings. The sellers are very well-versed on how you can nurture and harvest each fruit-bearing plant. AANI also offers farm tours, seminars, and agri-bazaars to get you psyched up for urban farming. Where: FTI Complex, Taguig. Call 837-7927
Those who cook with a passion for their ingredients know SIDCOR. It is popular for offering local organic products that you don’t usually find in the supermarket. Here, the titas of Manila don’t mind the heat because of a gardening section that sells a wide array of flower bearing plants, fruit bearing seedlings, and herbs (some of which are rare) from different regions of our country. You can also find many organic fertilizers, soil mix, pots, and tools enough to entice the young ones to get into gardening. Where: Eton Centris, EDSA corner Quezon Avenue, Quezon City (it's accessible via the MRT Quezon Avenue station). Open on Sundays 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call 0917-9875105