Whenever 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.
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.
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.