14 Dec2005

Dalandan Topiary

by Marketman

This was first posted last December. This is great holiday party decor…natural, fragrant, economical and stunning. There’s nothing like going all out during the holidays. The Christmas season at our house is one filled with food and more food. dalandan topiary Even the decor is sometimes made of food. Inspired by a recent photo sent to me of western topiaries made of lemons and apples, I decided to see if I could make one out of local produce. The results were really quite stunning…dalandan topiary christmas tree a la marketman.

Start with a wood or metal base then tailor floral foam (oasis) in the rough shape of a Christmas tree (please refer to photo below to see various stages of topiary) which will be used as the base for sticking in the dalandan fruit. You may also want to try a styrofoam base but I prefer the green oasis to the stark white styrofoam. topiary in stages Make sure the foam is wired to secure it to the frame. Do not soak oasis in water. Buy very fresh dalandans with dark green skins… I bought 10 kilos but only used 7.5 kilos for this nearly three foot tall topiary. Attach dalandans to the frame using sturdy toothpicks stuck into the center of the bottom side of the fruit.

After totally covering the foam frame, insert “fillers” in the gaps between the oranges. I used ivy tips (yes, the stuff growing on our hollow topiary detail block walls) cut from our garden, but dried or fresh moss would also work well. Just insert ivy or moss between the dalandans as shown in the photo below. This topiary looked great for about 4 days (though the ivy dries out fast) and I used it for two holiday dinners.

I bought the dalandans at just P12 per kilo so this cost roughly P120 for fruit (including lots of juice from extras), P150 for the oasis, I made the frame from extra plywood at home and the toothpicks were just a few pesos worth. Grand total — about P300 for this stunning topiary. I think that’s a great deal, don’t you? You may wish to try this on a smaller scale with calamansi or larger scale with dayap. The citrus fruit has a great scent that infuses the room where the topiary is placed. If you want to re-use the fruit, do so just a day or so after making the topiary… make tons of juice, dalandan sherbet, etc. A great holiday centerpiece, consumable the following day, and very reasonably priced. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!



  1. Isabel says:

    verrrrrrrrrrrrrry nice web site! i will get tita pati to see it!

    Jan 8, 2005 | 10:15 pm


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  3. luigi bernas says:

    I just decided that I need to recruit you for Slowfood. This site is fantastic. Can you construct a food trivia forum in this site so that people can just throw out their tidbits Then you can pick out the best ones for your food trivia item of the week. I will get all my foodie friends and chef to visit the site.

    Jan 13, 2005 | 6:49 pm

  4. jane lee says:

    marketman, both your topiaries blew me away. I don’t cook much but I love entertaining and decorating and will definitely make the fruit/flower topiary my next project. i’m truly impressed by your talents and i have a feeling you have found your true calling. forget martha magazine – you are so much more informative AND entertaining.

    Feb 20, 2005 | 11:36 pm

  5. Edrid Juezan says:

    very informative, entertaining and encouraging…from
    to time I’ll visit this site… keep it up!!!

    Apr 1, 2005 | 11:00 am

  6. Kim Schultz says:

    I remember your yellow amiba Painting from Jakarta:)
    Your Marketmanila is very very impressive…
    Colorfull and a real pleasure to read

    May 4, 2005 | 11:08 am

  7. May Ann Juezan says:

    This is the first time I open a website but I did not
    regret. I really enjoyed a lot, much more that I know the man
    behind the rose and dalandan expertise. Keep it up bro.

    Jun 3, 2005 | 3:36 pm

  8. Gigi says:

    Christmas is around the corner and this is a great idea! :)

    Aug 23, 2005 | 9:23 am

  9. bhappy says:

    Hi. I have found your blog through ellens ramblings (www.ellens-ramblings.blogspot.com). I love your appreciation of food. You have been tagged for the YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT TOP 10 FAVOURITE FOODS by http://www.manilamayhem.blogspot.com


    Dec 14, 2005 | 4:33 pm

  10. melissa says:

    Wow, the topiary looks very dramatic! I like the dalandan even better than the roses. Merry Christmas!

    Dec 14, 2005 | 5:07 pm

  11. luwee says:

    You are truly talented not only in cooking but also in decorating and very resourceful too. U and your ideas really bring Christmas cheer.

    Dec 14, 2005 | 6:42 pm

  12. ces says:

    a great solution to my current dilemma..with my small apartment in new york and my daughter asking for a christmas tree..thanks!

    Dec 15, 2005 | 12:44 am

  13. Bubut says:

    i have read this last year’s post but i have to re-read it and still enjoyed. I hope i have the time to do this. Keep up the goodwork, MM.

    Dec 15, 2005 | 12:22 pm

  14. edel says:

    i love your dalandan topiary.. will try to make one next christmas :) btw, how long did it stay fresh? thanks thanks.. i love your website

    Jan 4, 2006 | 12:09 am

  15. Marketman says:

    It lasts just 3-4 days max. But it is worth the effort if you ask me…

    Jan 4, 2006 | 10:12 pm

  16. Lou Larouche says:

    This is what I’m proud of as a Filipino. The infinite imagination and creativity of my compatriots. This is simply a great and fun-tastic idea. Merci beaucoup, MM and the author, of course…

    Mar 13, 2006 | 4:16 pm


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