Monday, March 31, 2014

The Death of a Lavender :-(

One of my two french lavenders died. I tried transplanting them to a bigger pot because they've grown so big. I gave one a bit of a shake to loosen the roots as advised by my online research on how to transplant lavenders...and it didn't like it.

Lesson #8. When transplanting lavender, take it as is and don't attempt to loosen the roots because they are super sensitive they'll die.

This weekend I'm going to try to grow them from cuttings.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Broken Jar

Image courtesy of:

It was a candy jar I broke.

I was dragged
Dumped where the dog sleeps
And then the lashes came...
I counted them to dull the pain.

Why doesn't it stop?
Twenty-two.. .thirty....

My back is raw and my body is shaking.
My shirt clings to the oozing flesh on my back.
I want to rip it off.
Please make my heart stop beating.

She is my world--my one and only.
How can she hurt me like this?

I'm just a child and my hands are still tiny 
To get a good grip of big things like jars.

He is my defender
My knight-in-shining armor.
The heavy buckle of his belt crosses my cheek
Something tastes like the metal lid of our salt shaker.

What is wrong with me?
Why am I like this?

My Mona Lisa stops him to say not on the face
I'm so sorry...little arms reaching for a hug
For a blanket of protection

But some things never come.

In between the lashes
A little heart was dreaming
To be ever so tiny no one could see me
Oh, I'm a dust in the afternoon sun!

Some wishes never come true.

She lets him have a go
His hands--the broom--a stick--the thin black belt!
A shoe across my face
On my fifteenth birthday.

The days roll past into months
And years into faded photographs of decades past
I try to live my life
But something's not quite right .

How can he hurt me like this?
He is my world my one and only.

I will wait.
I will strive.
I cannot fail...

What is wrong with me
Why am I like this?

I need some sweets
I need a fix.

It got broken when my hands were still tiny
To get a good grip of big things like jars.

©2013 Ma. Leonor Jambalos. All rights reserved.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Lavender Growing Update: 5th Month

It's been 5 months since I started this small experiment on whether lavender could grow here in the Philippines. The answer was an obvious yes, but whether they will thrive as perennials, is another tough question that I'm facing as the months go by.

I started with 70 seedlings. After Typhoon Yolanda and a few rainstorms, it was down to 54 last month.Today there's only 42 left (2 dentata and 40 angustifolia varieties). More died since I stopped running like crazy outside to put an umbrella over them whenever it's raining or moving them over to a shady part of the garden when it gets too hot. I was thinking that if I'll be realistic about this experiment then I should stop doing that. I left a few in the shade though just in case...

Today, the temperature reads 34 degrees Celsius (92 degrees Fahrenheit) with 52% humidity rate in Manila. And this weather is just wicked even for the other plants, my lawn is brown and the other plants are also dying from the intense heat and humidity. The good news is,the ones that survived are healthy and branching out. These are the True Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia):

Below are the French Lavender which I bought from SM Makati Supermarket in December. They're so much bigger now I need to transfer them to a bigger pot:

From my research, seasoned gardeners recommend French Lavender in the tropics because they are more tolerant to the extreme heat, humidity and rain. Though if there's a storm, I would still bring them inside because as with any lavender, wet roots kill them. Just look at the ones below:

Above are the ones which I notice that even after two days the soil around them is still wet unlike the other plants.

What I learned so far are these:
1) Water only every 2-3 days.
2) Use a water sprayer and water them lightly at the base. Never over water or else they'll die.I can't highlight this enough.
3) Water early in the morning to give their roots a chance to dry throughout the day. Never in the late afternoon or evening If you skipped it, then just water the next morning.
4) The soil should have good drainage. I bought Folia Tropica potting mix from Ace Hardware. It has a good mix of sand, compost and coconut coir. I had the mistake of using leftover seed growing mix in the past and the ones I planted with those died because the mix is designed to retain water which is important for seeds to germinate but causes root rot for lavender.
5) Put some pebbles at the bottom of the pot before putting soil for better drainage.
6) Fertilize at least once a month.
7) Cut dead leaves as close to the stem as possible because that's where new leaves/branches sprout.

I only have a few plants left than when I started but if you consider the leaves and the branches, I actually have more. From what I read, they aren't fully mature until about a year so I have a few more months left to wait and hopefully on my next update they're starting to bloom.

Thank you for all your messages and sorry if I am not able to respond sooner than I wish. If you have started growing them (in the Philippines) please share your experience with me. Perhaps we can find a way to make this lavender growing work. If not, I still think it's worth knowing first hand.