Go smell the flowers: From mall to plant sanctuary

Published July 29, 2021, 9:40 AM

by Jessica Pag-iwayan

Introducing the Greenhouse at Village Square Alabang, the next hangout place for the plantitos and plantitas

GREENLIGHT From left: VIPS at the Greenhouse launch event include city councilor of Las Piñas Hon. Danilo Hernandez, chief operating officer of Megaworld Corporation Lourdes Gutierrez-Alfonso, first vice president and head of Megaworld Lifestyle Malls Graham Coates, celebrity and Arid and Aroids Ambassador Aubrey Miles, NCR regional director of Department of Trade and Industry Marcelina Alcantara, Department of Agriculture national director for Urban Agriculture Gerald Glenn Panganiban

‘This is really a place where people can relax and be at home with all the plants.’

Isolation from the COVID-19 pandemic paved the way for people to find new hobbies. Among the recreations that became a hit last year was gardening.

The trend is happening across the globe. According to Reuters’ report, in Russia alone, the demand for plant seed increased by 20 to 30 percent while, in the US, the company W. Atlee Burpee & Co had reached an all-time high with its seed sales throughout its entire 144-year history in March.

Locally, it is not only plants and flowers that bloom but also the number of plant(itos) and plant(itas), the local term for people who love plants from across different age groups. This love and demand for plants inspired Megaworld Lifestyle Malls to open Greenhouse at Village Square Alabang. 

Greenhouse in the City

Greenhouse at Village Square Alabang is dubbed as “the Philippines’ first and only plant sanctuary mall dedicated to planting and gardening enthusiasts.” 

“During this pandemic, everybody has really grown to love gardening whether you have a small balcony, whether you have a bigger garden. It’s giving you a little respite from all the negative news that has been around for the last year and a half,” Graham Coates, head of Megaworld Lifestyle Malls says. “And we believe that there was a unique opportunity with the Greenhouse to develop a one-stop shop, a place where you can go and get all your gardening needs.” 

What was originally a traditional mall, the Greenhouse is a two-level, 12,000-square-meter, all-in-one mall for plant-lovers. It offers one of the widest selections of plants, foliage, and gardening essentials and options in a more convenient and comfortable air-conditioned indoor setting. On top of that, this plant shopping place is also home to more than 20 merchants from different parts of the country, giving them the opportunity and livelihood everyone needs these days. 

“We created this whole mall with the idea that everybody could find something whether it’s a ₱50 plant, or something as high as ₱1 million to ₱2 million per plant,” he says. 

Guests can visit Plant Charms and More, which features a selection of pots, baskets, and decorative essentials. For professional gardening works, shoppers may likewise book consultations with gardening and landscape experts.

Novice plant owners can learn the basics of planting, bonsai caring, succulent gardening, and other gardening skills at Plant Parenting 101. For those who have already mastered the art of gardening, Plant Sale & Swap provides the opportunity for them to join plant live selling events and trade fairs with other plant parents. 

Safe shopping

SAFETY SEAL AWARDING From left: Chief of Business Permits and Licensing Office, City Government of Las Piñas Jesus Wilfredo Gaerlan, city councilor of Las Piñas Hon. Danilo Hernandez, chief operating officer of Megaworld Corporation Lourdes Gutierrez-Alfonso, and first vice president and head of Megaworld Lifestyle Malls Graham Coates

Even though it has just recently opened, the establishment has already earned the safety seal from the local government unit. This assures every visitor that they are in a place safe to dine in and shop at. 

“Greenhouse at Village Square Alabang is also the safest place for plant shopping and for buying other gardening needs with stringent safety protocols in place and a Safety Seal certification from the city government,” Coates says. “We do have existing restaurants there,

so you can have a choice of places to eat.”

Phase two

GREEN IS IN Inside the Greenhouse

But the plan doesn’t stop here. Coates also explains that, because of the support that they getting from the community—with 6,000 weekly visitors coming to check the more than 3,000 plant varieties and gardening materials, they have more plans to roll out. 

Taking inspiration from the Covent Garden in West London, where Coates grew up, there is a plan to include an al fresco dining restaurant, café, and skylight.

“We plan to put out a skylight, to help the plants, or give more ambiance to the building,” he says. “We plan to put up a garden cafe where you can just sit and enjoy, have a nice meal, and take a break from the pollution of the city. This is really a place where people can relax and be at home with all the plants.” 

The mall is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. For those who are far from the south but are interested to check out the plants and other merchandise available, their merchants are doing live-selling on Facebook or visit megaworld-lifestylemalls.com. 

 
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