14 Dec2013

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I am a HUGE fan of the plants and flowers at The Manila Seedling Bank in Quezon City. So I was shocked to read newspaper reports that the compound was padlocked, tenants evicted and businesses closed just a few days ago. There are legal tussles, taxes and other sordid goings on, but it’s a huge shame that the complex has been shuttered, and I hope they will regroup or re-open soon. I have read a couple of editorials on the issue, but I don’t fully understand the brouhaha other than the QC government thinks it deserves property taxes, when the foundation/owner of the property appears to be exempt from such taxes under several laws. Bah humbug. Thank goodness I hit my favorite source of poinsettias just days before the controversy and well, I went a little cuckoo at 6am…

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When I first wrote about King Louis’ flowers and potted poinsettias in 2005 (giving up a personal “secret source” of sorts), few institutions except the snazziest malls were buying them en masse. Since then, they have become so darned common in public places (including Ayala Avenue) that I figure King Louis must easily sell 50-100,000+ pots of them a year. At a price of PHP200 per pot, that’s a potential 10-20 million pesos in revenue from this classic “christmas flower”… But the flowers are popular for a reason… they are beautiful, can last up to a month or more, and look fantastic with their deep red “blooms” and dark green leaves. Several varieties of pink, white, mixed, etc. now exist.

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My COS (Chief of Stuff) called ahead to reserve say 12-15 pots of poinsettias for this year, and our King Louis contact assured us we were on the list. One year they inexplicably “lost” our order and I was standing at their stall at 6am and being told that I had nothing to choose from… needless to say, I had a not so controlled “rant” on the spot and they miraculously “found” my order, so every since then, we make sure to call ahead and reserve. This year, we hit the seedling bank at 6am on a Thursday morning, and watched as they unloaded the most ginormous covered truck bearing thousands of boxed poinsettias from their farms up North. The quality and variety of plants on offer were so tempting that I ended up buying over 30+ pots! Some were to be given away as presents, but most ended up in our home this year! I buy wholesale, and this is not the time to go hoping to pick up a pot or two at a discount, they will not appreciate it…

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There was hardly any room left in the small Ford Escape and I rode home amidst all the holiday greenery. :) I figured since things were still going to be hectic in the weeks ahead, having masses of poinsettias would make the house look festive, without having to futz with too many other floral arrangements… At the wholesale price of roughly PHP200-300 per pot, these were HALF the price at Makati malls, but I have to admit, I didn’t save anything as I purchased twice the planned amount! :(

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Back at home, we separated pots which were to be sent to friends and relatives as gifts, the crew took some home to spruce up their abodes, and we set about trying to decide how best to use the poinsettia bounty in our own home…

 

COMMENTS:

  1. natie says:

    Oh, wow!! Nothing says Christmas like poinsettias! Bingo–Great idea for presents!

    Dec 15, 2013 | 3:27 am

     
  2. Karina says:

    I am sad about the padlocking too. Some of the tenants have found a home in Quezon City circle, not bad, but still hoping they retain the current spot. They could have made an arrangement with the rising CBD to provide for their greenery amidst all the planned glass-and-steel structures. Not that they are supposed to have to do that to keep their land…

    Dec 15, 2013 | 8:24 am

     
  3. Getter Dragon 1 says:

    I got mine!

    Dec 16, 2013 | 8:02 am

     
  4. ami says:

    I’m sure you had to do a lot of vacuuming once you unloaded all the plants.

    Dec 16, 2013 | 9:55 am

     
  5. Lois says:

    MM, I actually thought about you when I read this… http://opinion.inquirer.net/67257/manila-seedling-bank-vs-qc-government

    Dec 16, 2013 | 11:31 am

     

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