September in the Shamba



DSCN3086Whenever I am working in the summer garden I feel close to Kenya but particularly in the vegetable garden which, since my revisit, I have taken to calling a shamba  (Swahili for smallholding). This summer’s lovely warm weather and bumper crops: tangled arches of beans, romping pumpkins and a greenhouse full of tomatoes and marigolds remind me of the lovely  garden we had in Kenya.

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With two seasons, the perfect climate and masses of insects to pollinate everything, we were well provided with food: potatoes, tomatoes, cabbages, beans and one year a huge number of lettuces. There were so many that Dad sold most of them to his friend Canti at Naivasha stores in Gilgil and we felt like farmers.

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There were a lot of flowers too, Kevin and I did our bit with the giant sunflowers we grew for the school project, it seemed impossible that such a massive plant came from a single seed.

And Dad grew his favourites; the African violets, pelargoniums, sweet william and sweetpeas. We had so many sweetpeas one season, that he gave me an enormous bunch to take to my teacher. I will never forget their heavenly scent and smudgy lilac and sugar pink hues and the feeling of celebration as I proudly walked to school.

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