01 02 03 Africa Expat Wives Club: Learning to Garden in Africa 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Learning to Garden in Africa

I started a gardening course today with the Kenya Horticultural Society in the hopes of sparking an interest in gardening at home and understanding a bit about how to plan a garden around the weird African extremes of heavy rains and droughts.

I got in a bit of a panic over what kind of footwear to put on, as it was drizzling this morning and I knew we’d be sitting outside. My choice was; high heeled ankle boots (too impractical for a gardening course) Bata wellies (too much – it was a faint drizzle) old trainers (might be a bit smelly and off putting for the other students) and Timberland boots (I’ve had them 10 years but they still look like new, wearing them might be construed as being a bit of a know all).
I took wellies and smelly trainers with me but then plumped for staying in the high heeled boots. I needn’t have worried. The 30 other students and lecturers were in the varying stages of old age, a little bit aged and the not very young people (like me). I noticed that fashion rules were not being strictly observed, a case in point was our first teacher dressed in typical colonial garb of knee high up beige socks with turned tops, safari boots, wide knee length shorts and a woolly pully.

The joy of learning to garden in Africa is that all you absorb can then be delegated to the gardener you employ at home and then simply ‘overseen’ with no need to get your own hands dirty. The difficulty is to be clear about what you want when issuing instructions. I discovered this morning after a three hour session on fertilisers (organic and chemical), organic gardening and composting, that my main stumbling block will be comprehending the lessons and lectures in the first place especially as the only plant/tree names I know are; rose, agapanthus, acacia, lavender, bougainvillea and ‘yesterday, today and tomorrow’, but I’m resolved to construct a three bed ‘New Zealand’ style compost system by next week’s class. Watch this space.

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