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EDSA Garden House

EDSA Garden House
EDSA Garden House

Tucked in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it part of EDSA is this gem of a place called EDSA Garden House, within the compound of Manila Seedling Garden. The place is quite easy to miss because for one, it is located below the EDSA – Quezon Avenue flyover which is usually bypassed by vehicles unless they’re making a u-turn and not going straight to the Trinoma area. Before discovering this place, I thought I would have to make the arduous journey to Tagaytay to actually find good, cheap herb plants. I’ve actually been passing this place for years without paying it a visit, without knowing what it had inside.

Last Christmas I was fuming with indignation about the price of rosemary sprigs at SM, a staggering 180 pesos! Although I knew I couldn’t do my roast without it, I left it without a second thought and declared in my head that I was going to find a cheaper alternative no matter what. I diligently researched online and came accross a forum which mentioned that there are rosemary plants at EDSA Garden House. I did know about this place, and I have been mildly curious whenever the frustrated horticulturist in me periodically shone through, but not curious enough to actually pay it a visit. But given the crazy price of the necessary rosemary, I decided to stop by one afternoon on the way from coming from a meeting, going back to my office in QC.

My heart started racing as soon as I stepped into the driveway, this massive greenhouse (or greenhouse-like) structure that looked like a PROPER place to get edible plants on. From the outside, you can already see beds upon beds of little green plants on little black seedling pods. I tell, you what a high, I felt like I was the only person who knew about the place, because nobody else was in there except for me and the girls in green who were tending to the plants. Well, probably because it was 2 in the afternoon, which is not exactly an exciting time to get plants. There was a radio somewhere in the building, because there was a ballad I was singing to in my head while plucking the herbs into my basket. every few seconds a spray of mist would come from the ceiling keeping the plants moist, and the surroundings pleasantly humid.

Around the bend at Manila Seedling Bank
Around the bend at Manila Seedling Bank

I ended up buying my first lot of herbs, consisting of rosemary (of course), tarragon, thyme oregano, pandan and dwarf basil. As I walked out with my fragrant plants, I vowed to come back for those I left behind.

I love cooking and H loves cooking, so natually I told him about it and nagged him about going there. There’s cooking at my house, and then there’s cooking at his house, which we do every weekend. Naturally, having our own herb garden would be wicked. It’s convenient, it keeps our food fresh, and its gonna save us a fair amount of money when we do the groceries. I knew that he wasn’t that psyched about going there and I could understand because I myself have been putting it off for years because I had no idea. Anyway, soon as we stepped in he muttered “wow, i’m impressed”, because this is not the typical sight you will find in a Manila garden. It was orderly, well-lit, it was clean and neat, everything is properly labeled. Before getting anything we strolled around the rest of the compound, which stretches out to Agham Road, meaning to say the place is huge. Most of the other shops are ornamentals, which is also impressive in itself– and cheap. A couple of stores sell herbs as well, but the cheapest is still at EDSA Garden House because they offer discounts. Normally, the smaller herbs are priced at 50 pesos per plant, but you can get three for only 100 pesos. Those marked 75 pesos (like the more mature rosemary plants) will go for 200 pesos for three.

Just around the bend, theres another shop which seems to also specialize in herbs, but more on gardening supplies like fertilizer, seeds, pots etc. I forgot what the name is, but this is where i got my nice plastic pots which came in dozens, for only 119 pesos. I thought my 2 for 50 pesos Ramgo pots were cheap, but this put that to shame.

H communing with the herbs
H communing with the herbs

In the end we managed to come away with 13 pots in all: Cilantro (Wansoy or Coriander), Brazilian mint (the kind that is usually sold in trays at the grocery), Java mint, rosemary, dwarf basil, thai chili, green chili (the one used in sinigang), flat-leaf parsley, Italian oregano, pandan (screwpine) and two tomato plants. I have repotted the plants and managed to add more soil (69.75 pesos per sack) I can’t wait to go back and hoard again!

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