Though we woke up early and braved the Monday SLEX traffic, we arrived way before the 10 am call time for the Hoya meeting. We made a quick detour to the garden shops on the border of Calamba and Los Banos and was surprised by the wide variety of plants available for landscape. Fortunately a good number was native. It was not difficult purchasing the native species but eventually the task proved too enjoyable for my companions. We lost our early bird advantage and eventually arrived late in the meeting venue (Dr. Ben Vergara’s propagation garden). At least we already had our early plant picks to be picked up on our way back home.
The Hoya Society already had started their tour of Dr. Vergara’s garden when we finally made it to the venue. We caught up with them admiring the red Eugenias and Malvar lemons in Dr. Vergaras collections. Upon reaching the Hoya greenhouse, the society’s buying frenzy began. The members ended up bringing home almost all the available propagations of the good professor. Even the other ornamentals did not escape the attention of the attendees as water plants and other succulents were also bagged up.
At lunch time everyone said goodbye to our Los Banos host and headed for our next plant destination, the 2nd semester Los Banos Garden Show. After eating a brief lunch at the food stalls, the group proceeded inspecting the exhibit booths and commercial areas. Though there were lesser stalls than before, Ron, Anthony and Wally were not short changed in their native plant finds. They got cultivated specimens of Pinanga, Murraya paniculata, Alocasia zebrina, Cyrtosperma merkusii, Phyllanthus sp., Osmoxylon lineare, Clerodendrum quadriculare, etc.
4 pm we were all tired scanning through all the plants available in the garden shops and the show. The Hoya society members, who rented out a van to bring them to Los Banos, were already having problems regarding their plant stash, as some would not fit in their vehicle. But the smiles on their faces were still obvious, probably because most of them had found the ornamental plant they fancy. The bagfuls were stacked into every available corner of the van. As for my companions, we eventually brought back to Manila a pick-up truck load of plants. Somehow all of these would be placed into the landscape of the botanical park prototype (near the visitor center in Wildlife Park). But they have to make a few more trips to fill up the space. I would look forward hitching a ride with them and joining in the plant adventure.