Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A new garden and a beautful, established garden

Those readers who have followed my blog when I lived in South Africa and Kenya, will remember that I am a keen gardener. Ironically, I sold my garden in South Africa (to our neighbor) only weeks before we surprisingly took up expat life again in East Africa.
 A collage of my garden in South Africa

A few weeks after my arrival in Keirio Valley (one of the most beautiful places we've ever lived) I revamped with the help of Stanley my wonderful Kenyan gardener,  the existing garden. I changed it from a totally exotic garden to a primarily indigenous one.  
 Our house and garden in Keirio Valley, in Kenya 

No sooner was I satisfied with the results and we were enjoying our "new" garden that Grant accepted a position in Northern Tanzania and we moved here. The garden surrounding our house is huge and well-kept by Edward, the askari.  I had no desire to change anything in it. 

Four months ago I asked Grant to enclose the area at the back of our house to create a secure place for our cats to enjoy going outdoors without being terrorized by the resident dogs. Grant and I spend the evenings there with them; we also sometimes entertain friends in our "new" shamba/ garden. Sitting there in the beginning, I knew I'd be changing the sandy and boring surroundings into a garden. And I'm busy doing that now. It's still a far way from being a lush garden but it is already streets ahead of the dusty, dry area it was before. 
Our garden :"Before".  Ginger surveying the barren grounds of our enclosed shamba!

Once Mataluma had prepared the area with new soil and compost (which I'd started in the Guest House garden), Edward and I walked to the client compound. Tilla and Amanda had promised me any plants as soon as I needed them.We loaded a cardboard box with ample shrubs, ferns, succulents and ground cover and came home to plant it.

WIP: first plantings from Tilla and Amanda's garden

Amanda also gave me a packet of lawn seed which I sowed in a prepared area on the opposite side. As it was mid-August, the wet season had not yet started but, believe it or not, that night we had a good shower of rain. (BTW we never saw another shower until two days ago!) Within days the seeds had sprouted like the proverbial hairs on the back of a proverbial dog!
Shadow inspects the new lawn in their enclosed garden
Ginger exploring between the shrubs which had perked up and established themselves in no time at all, after the unexpected shower of rain

I also sowed a packet of birdseed randomly between the shrubs.

Ambrose sniffs at the new bird seed which sprouted within days. Cats love need greens and our three regularly chew on grass stalks

I posted a similar photo on Sunday where the cats are prowling in the jungle of birdseed grass! Here Shadow and Ginger nibble on the grass

Last week Amanda and I visited friends, Rob and Ntsia to see Rob's garden and to chat/play with January, Ntsia's eight-year-old nephew. We also took along Edward Askari who helps me in my new garden.  
Above is a quiet corner to sit and enjoy a soda while taking in the beauty around you
 Amanda showing January photos of her family on her phone. This little lad is well cared for, has perfect manners and speaks beautiful English

I took a stroll through Rob's garden. What a delight; a lush, cool paradise with bird feeders and rock pools of water which attract birds, butterflies, lizards and all manner of other interesting wildlife. (Rob tells us that hedgehogs have started to visit his garden so he's putting out feed for them as well) 

Of course, as all good gardeners do, Rob offered me cuttings and plants of whatever I wanted. Soon his gardener had found a box and between him, Rob and Edward, was filling it for me.
Rob shows the men to remove plants for me to take home
Now this is a garden! 

There are many old trees in Rob's garden which add to the established feel of the whole place. A creation of a massive rock garden (above) crowded with aloes and succulents makes an impressive statement as you drive through the gate.

Back home again, Edward, Mataluma and I planted everything that we'd brought from Rob. We've had two spring showers already, so these plants are all growing enthusiastically in their new garden. 

Watch this space...

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  1. I am not much of a gardener myself though I try from time to time, lol. I do LOVE a lush, green garden though with lots of different plants, nicely groomed grass and rock and water features. Rob's garden is a delight and the garden you've started is a big improvement over the sand.

  2. I love how you green up space wherever you are, making a beautiful place for all the animals. Looking good once again.

  3. Knowing how "green" your fingers are Ko, you will create a brilliant garden!!! love and hugs Rose xoxoxox

  4. Knowing you and your "golden" thumb your garden will soon look like little Versailles ! That's nice to have a green patch for you and the cats !

  5. HI Jo, I know you are happy to be gardening again. I am sure you will have the new garden looking just as beautiful as the garden in your old home. I am looking forward to seeing it grow. Have a great day!

  6. That one is a bit of a challenge for you but no doubt you will turn it into a beautiful garden. If you keep doing this you will have established gardens in every country in Africa.

  7. I can't wait to watch this garden grow! You leave your mark wherever you live.

  8. Love the garden photos! And you've changed your template in here! It's different!

  9. Rob is a generous gardener. Your new garden will soon be lush and green due to your green thunb!

  10. Howzit, Jo? I’m sure you’re missing your other gardens quite a bit, and I’m sure you’re very excited to start transforming the garden in your new home. Rob’s garden looks so beautiful! Without doubt, you were inspired by it and got some ideas for your own garden. How is your garden looking now?


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo