06 Feb2007


Roses for Valentine’s Day are just too trite. Blah. Boring. Predictable. Uninspired. Unless you grow them yourself and cut them just minutes before giving them to your beloved. The commercial machinations that jardin4go into planning billions of rose blooms for harvest specifically in the next 3-4 days, packing and shipping from points as far as Ecuador, Israel, California, Benguet or Davao to every corner of the globe with a gullible guy (probably 85+% of buyers for Valentine’s) are far more impressive than the logistics for the Gulf War… I rarely get Mrs. Marketman roses for Valentine’s, but she gets them at other times of the year; and so does The Kid. So I am always on the lookout for something a bit different at this time of the year. A spectacular orchid, plant or other blooms…and last weekend I felt like I hit the jackpot and I hadn’t even purchased a ticket! Strolling around the Salcedo market in Makati, I noticed a tin pail filled with the most stunning vines and white flowers as they were being unloaded from the truck and placed at a garden stall. I immediately asked the folks who were still madly setting up shop what they were and how much they cost…


Turns out they were lush, lush vines of Cadena de Amor (Chain of Love) in prolific bloom. I know, I know, some of you are sniggering at the moment. What? The stuff they are trying to grow on all those EDSA overpass pillars and MRT chain-link fences? The vine that Imelda thought would cover all the squalor in squatter areas? The weed like “sagbut” as my amused crew refer to it, that is way too plentiful in the provinces? YES, I was utterly stunned by the simple beauty of the vines and their blooms. And how can you beat that name??? Despite being skeptical that they would last for more than a few hours in water, I asked how much they were. The owners laughed and said they hadn’t planned on selling them, as though I was just the lunatic they had hoped for who would buy that which wasn’t presumed to be for sale. So they hastily calculated what outrageous price they could charge me with a semi-straight face and said PHP200 for the whole bunch… “DEAL, I said,” and took everything before anyone else got the same idea. Once that objective was achieved, I decided to look around the smell the Cadena de Amors, so to speak, and realized I was in a terrific little stall…


“Le Jardin De Ville” their little notepaper with the proprietresses name and number read. The Garden in Town or the Village. Under two classic market umbrellas in stunning orange, was a beautiful selection of topiaries, herbs, cut flowers, bromeliads, etc. that simply screamed “Style” with a capital “S.” Clearly, someone behind this stall had an “eye,” and a very good one at that. Many of the plants and flowers are commonly available, but the selection, the way they were pulled together, the feel of the stall was just so much better than their neighbors. So many local florists have really awful looking shops but this stall immediately brought me back to florists in Europe where the selection was unusual and the displays totally inviting… Besides the Cadena de Amor, I purchased some uniquely magenta-ish? vandas at PHP30 a stem and Pink Congea shrubbery at PHP200 a bunch. Back home, I placed everything in separate glass vases and added a mature green hydrangea bloom that I happened to have in the garden and the resulting arrangement was spectacular. Early Valentine’s bouquet for the Mrs. and The Kid!


So if you are looking for something unusual for Valentine’s I STRONGLY recommend Le Jardin de Ville and since I suspect there will be a mad rush this Saturday to get their best stuff, you may want to call ahead and ask them to set aside something terrific for you. Their prices are not cheap, but they are far less expensive than the chi-chi florists who will easily cost you several thousand for something remotely interesting. Call Lia Valera at 0917-527-4794. And tell them Marketman sent you; I was amused because they gave me a hard time when I tried to buy the Cadena de Amor and even the suggestion that I wanted to PAY for all the flowers AND feature them on a market website was met with this quizzical “what is this nutcase of a man talking about” look…



  1. Maria Clara says:

    Your creative impulse kicks in and you have an amazing arrangement. Good thing it does not have to go anywhere otherwise you need a large pick up truck to deliver the arrangement. Cadena de amor are vines growing out in the meadow pretty much self-sufficient. With the new millennium they are now cultivated. I love their heart shaped flowers. I know they were ubiquitous when we were growing up and they used them as a headdress for Flores de Mayo – Santa Crusan. How long do they last in an arrangement? Again, you created another masterpiece. Move over Paula Pryke (one my favorite florists based in London) here comes MM! Thanks for the lead.

    Feb 6, 2007 | 7:47 am


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  3. sha says:

    these look terrific MM… honestly my ex boss in UK was very surprised of my finds around their estate. I know they can afford expensive blooms but unsual ones always stand out!!!

    By the way when I left that job she gave me crystal vases as farewell presents ;-)

    Feb 6, 2007 | 7:48 am

  4. Marketman says:

    Maria Clara, it is day 3 and the Cadena de Amor is still fine… which really amazes me. More folks should use this for church wedding arrangements, they would look SPECTACULAR lining a long aisle… sha, yes, I would have thought clippings from the estate would be terrific; here in the tropics, most flowers of that sort would wilt rapidly however…so I am really pleasantly surprised with the Cadena de Amor…

    Feb 6, 2007 | 8:04 am

  5. eumir says:

    In our province, you can only find Cadena de Amor at cemeteries..

    Feb 6, 2007 | 8:16 am

  6. Marichu says:

    I agree with eumir, MM. My parents told me cadena de amors are ONLY for the cemeteries and if your yard has one growing then pull it out ASAP lest you want your yard to resemble a place of rest for the dearly departeds. No wonder the vendors looked at you quizically hehe.

    Feb 6, 2007 | 8:44 am

  7. Marketman says:

    eumir and marichu, those must be the same folks who would consider white kalachuchis or fragipanis as “cemetery” plants as well… The Cadena de Amors look spectacular in a vase and would look terrific in several different kinds of arrangements, cemetery association notwithstanding…

    Feb 6, 2007 | 9:57 am

  8. millet says:

    thank heavens, thank heavens somebody appreciates cadena de amor! i have always loved them-we used to have pink and white trellises of them when i was growing up, and always imagined myself in wedding finery under those. when it came time for my wedding, though, i found out nobody grew them commercially, and i was told that was because they often grow wild in cemeteries. i never found out if that one’s true, but i still love them. i have difficulty arranging them, though. how did you do it, MM? you can always make your masses of blooms look spectacular.

    Feb 6, 2007 | 10:09 am

  9. Marketman says:

    millet, this is my current train of thought… if so many folks get divorced, annulled, legally separated or simply stuck in a marriage that is less than ideal and THEY had white roses, lilies of the valley, orchids, calla lilies, chrysanthemums, etc. at THEIR nuptials, I would happily take my chances with Cadena de Amors at my wedding…not only statistically but aesthetically as well…Heeheehee. And just in case folks were wondering, the chrysanthemums so often used now in churches are typically reserved only for wakes in other cultures…so it’s just what you get used to, I suppose… Millet, to arrange, mass the vines (about 4-5 feet in length in the photos above) and I used a VERY tall clear glass vase so the vines fall nicely…

    Feb 6, 2007 | 10:27 am

  10. Maricel says:

    I have also always loved cadena de amor. Pretty little things aren’t they? I believe the blooms are edible and can be added to a fresh vegetable salad to add color. Haven’t tried eating them though.

    Feb 6, 2007 | 10:31 am

  11. sister says:

    Behind Lola’s house, above the canal, draped over the fence and rooted above the septic tank on the Mango side are massive 10 ft. high climbing cadena de amor, at least the last time I looked, which was probably 25 years ago…

    Feb 6, 2007 | 12:07 pm

  12. Rowi says:

    It’s a pity that kalachuchis are still associated with funeral arrangements. I enjoy the scent of this exotic flower esp. at the Calatagan golf course where the trees have been there since one could remember. I love it’s international name as well, frangipani.

    When I used to live in Manila, I did an arrangement for our open house party where I used some freshly-picked kalachuchis, (the ones with a hint of magenta), let them float on a huge, shallow bowl filled with water and added some floating candles. The effect as commented by guests was both romantic and dramatic.

    There is a similar plant here in Sweden called “Lieutenant’s heart” (Dicentra spectabilis) and the flowers are heart-shaped and come in white and in pink. Lovely perennial bush that grows abundantly during the summer until late autumn.

    Feb 6, 2007 | 6:52 pm

  13. carina says:

    MM, those are lovely blooms. I also prefer the lesser popular flowers than roses. Sigh.

    Feb 7, 2007 | 3:16 pm

  14. millet says:

    haha….korek,MM! i wish more people would use cadena de amor for weddings. do they last long as cut flowers, though? rowi, i think you are referring to “bleeding hearts”? they’re nice flowers, too, but the cadena de amor look more dainty and sweet.

    Feb 7, 2007 | 7:13 pm

  15. Marketman says:

    millet, the C de A’s lasted about 30 hours in water, more than enough time for a church set-up for a wedding and or the reception too…

    Feb 8, 2007 | 7:20 am

  16. Bubut says:

    you would find cadena de amor (pink flowers)being grown at the MRT station. It is the national flower of MMDA.

    Mar 26, 2007 | 6:11 am

  17. Osay says:

    Rowi, i echo the same thoughts. Kalachuchis are by far my favorite scent especially during the summer dusk walks. I get my fix around the greenhills car park on my way to church. Kudos to Marketman for finding them vandas. Is the Salcedo market open year round?

    May 22, 2007 | 10:34 pm


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