In the Garden

Written By: The Lowdown - Feb• 28•13

2013 02 small cover logo In The Garden 2It’s totally amazing what a dramatic change there is in the garden with all this rain. The plants love it. They are shouting “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” Even with generous watering in the long dry months, it’s not the same. What they enjoy is the humid air as well as the abundance of water.


If you have pot plants indoors or on your verandah, a weekly misting with water will pay dividends. For orchids I suggest a daily misting and in the hot dry season make that twice daily! You don’t need to buy a special mister – just use the empty container from any of the common cleaning materials at the supermarket that come as a hand spray. You can add a foliar feed to the water once a fortnight. Ideally use rain or borehole water. If you have to use tap water, stand it in the sun for two or three days to lose the chlorine.


My vegetable garden is looking lush with huge carrots and beetroot. Add extra river sand before sowing root crops to improve drainage. The eggplants and okra are flourishing but not yet giving their produce. I harvested all the sweetcorn and it was delicious. The Swiss chard is surviving although it tends to give up towards the end of the rains. Watercress is obviously happy and so are most of the herbs. Sweet basil however does not like the rain so let them flower and save some seeds to replant in April.


I explored a couple of nurseries recently. The LCC nursery on Mwatusanga Road (runs between Leopard’s Hill and Independence Avenue) is…how shall I say this….well, it leaves much to be desired. The best thing is the price and most plants sell for KR5, including flamboyant trees, bauhinia, red mahogany and a variety of shrubs. If you do go there, ask for Mr. George Mwale, who knows plant names and will give you good advice.


Nalishebo’s Garden Nursery is at the end of Parirenyatwa Road near the 5-point junction not far from St. Ignatius Church. They have flamboyant trees at KR20 and a big variety of plants with many shrubs and ornamentals. Many plants were KR5 – 10. They sell small but healthy cycads at KR100. Worth taking a look.


Rose Garden is still way ahead of the competition. Their plants are always healthy and the owner introduces new plants from SA like the invaluable “Diamond Frost” euphorbia and the leopard tree as well as propagating all our favourites. I do wish it were easier to find simple garden tools, small pots and black plastic bags in various sizes. Polythene Products make the latter but are situated in the heart of the industrial area where traffic congestion is a nightmare. They also sell in large quantities only (1000). Game seems to have lost interest in their gardening section since Walmart took over and have a dismal selection of products at high prices. Check Arcades Market on a Sunday for plants.


The strange epiphyllum cactus with its flattened green stems, often mistaken for leaves, finally rewarded my patience with no less then 9 exquisite blooms one night. The white flowers are 15cms across and open at night at about 8.30 pm. They die before the morning. But they are so beautiful I highly recommend them. Although a cactus, the epiphyllum originated in forests. So it needs light but not full direct sun, and plenty of moisture. Never let the soil dry out completely. Keep it in a pot where you will notice the tiny pink and white buds appear on the edge of the stem. They grow rapidly to about 15 cms and then you need to check every evening or you may miss a feast for the eyes.



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