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Modern Living

A walk trough Greenhouse, the country's first plant mall

SLICE OF LIFE - Ching M. Alano - The Philippine Star
A walk trough Greenhouse, the country's first plant mall
Hello, garden lovers!: At the launch of Greenhouse at Village Square Alabang are Lourdes Gutierrez-Alfonso, chief operating officer, Megaworld Corporation; Graham Coates, head, Megaworld Lifestyle Malls; Aubrey Miles, Arid & Aroids ambassador; Gerald Glenn Panganiban, Department of Agriculture national director for urban agriculture. Greenhouse boasts 3,000 different kinds of plants for newbie and veteran gardeners.
STAR/ File

If there’s something good that’s come out of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is that even the jaded urbanite has turned to gardening to beat the blues of being quarantined at home. Whether you’re a newbie who doesn’t have a green thumb or a true-blue gardener, there’s a place just for you, where you’ll probably find your perfect “soilmate.” But of course, we’re talking about Greenhouse at Village Square Alabang, the country’s first plant sanctuary mall, a pioneering concept by Megaworld Lifestyle Malls.

A mall dedicated to plants and plants alone? Well, you’re not going here to buy clothes or a pair of shoes, for sure!

Welcome to Greenhouse, your one-stop destination for all your gardening and landscaping essentials.

Reinventing the mall for the ‘planTito’ and ‘Plantita’

“It’s a unique concept in the South,” Graham Coates, head of Megaworld Lifestyle Malls, briefs a group of lifestyle writers during a Zoom press conference. “This was previously a traditional mall with typical tenants, but during the pandemic, we felt there was an opportunity to reinvent the mall. Kevin Tan (Megaworld Corporation chief strategy officer) and I brainstormed on what we could do that would really cater to the needs of the customer. One thing that came out of the pandemic was a new love for gardening. Everybody seemed to be a plantito and a plantita.”

A first in the country, Greenhouse couldn’t have come at a better time. “We pride ourselves on innovation,” Graham declares. “People need a little bit of respite from all the negative news around. Here, you feel refreshed, get your plant and hopefully, have a great time.”

Graham, who probably talks to his plants, can’t stress enough the mental and health benefits of planting. “Gardening is one of the healthiest hobbies you can develop. You don’t need a big garden, you can plant in your balcony.”

Tracing his roots to England, Graham has been a gardener for the past 30 years. He developed gardens in Singapore, Hong Kong, Barbados, the Caribbean, and just about every place he’d been to. But the English gardener confesses, “Of all these locations, I love the gardens in the Philippines because of the sheer volume of tropical plants and the climate is perfect.”

Handy beauties: Daniel’s Handicrafts specializes in baskets and woven containers for plants and gardening needs.

Plants from P50 to P1 million

Graham piques our curiosity: “Everybody can find something in this mall, whether it’s a P50 plant or a plant as pricey as P1 to 2 million. Whether it’s fertilizer, soil, a gardening tool, etc., we’ve covered all your gardening needs.”

Now curious yellow, we ask Graham, “What kind of plant could fetch P1M?”

He hastens to reply, “It’s a South American plant that’s highly valued for its rarity. The rarer it is, the higher it goes in price.”

Yes, a collector’s item, but here’s more. “A plant worth P10 million will be exhibited on July 29 at Resorts World Manila,” Graham informs us, as our jaws drop and our eyes widen. “It’s the price of a Ferrari.”

You don’t really need a Ferrari to enjoy your visit to Greenhouse at Village Square Alabang. All you need is a sturdy pair of legs to navigate this 12,000-square-meter plant mall. Let Graham walk you briefly through this green haven, your one-stop destination for all your gardening and landscaping essentials.

As you enter the two-level Greenhouse, you’ll catch a whiff of fragrance like the scent of flowers in spring. As you go in, you’ll be dazzled by a super showcase display by gardening diva Shirley Sanders, who has created gardens that feed the soul and nourish the mind. This is to inspire and get your gardening juices flowing. On the ground floor are shops and plants of different types or categories. Whatever your favorite plant is could be available here. Yes, including healing plants. Name it, they probably herb it!

Going to pot: Lolita Pacio Garden offers potted flowers and small plants so you can bring some color and greenery into your home.

Go smell the flowers

When you go up the second level, you will see different types of gardening shops. At the center is an area dedicated to training and workshops, where guests can learn something different every day, like how to do bonsai or propagate plants. It’s like an academy of gardening. More than a shopping experience, it’s a learning experience, too, to entice people to get into the hobby, to get their hands dirty without feeling guilty.

Soon, there’ll be skylight roofing to help the plants and add ambience to the place. Greenhouse takes inspiration from London’s Covent Garden, with its wide-open space and natural light.

There’ll soon be an al fresco garden cafe, too, where you can sit and enjoy a nice meal, surrounded by greenery, away from the polluted city. And yes, you may smell the flowers!

Greenhouse has been awarded by the city government a Safety Seal certification. Here, you can shop in a safe, pleasing environment amid air-conditioned comfort.

“We plan to roll this out in other Megaworld developments because we do have the luxury of space in our many locations,” Graham shares.

While novice gardeners learn the basics of planting, veteran gardeners can join the Plant Sale & Swap for live selling events and trade fairs with other plant parents.

And this is just Phase 1 of what’s abloom at Greenhouse. Plant-astic!

* * *

The Greenhouse at Village Square Alabang is located at Concha Cruz Drive corner Alabang-Zapote Road, Almanza Uno, Las Piñas, Metro Manila. For more information, visit megaworld-lifestylemalls.com or call 84628888.

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