Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Chronicle Reporter
HAVING limited space in her yard in Cowdray Park suburb, Bulawayo, has not stopped Ms Ennety Sithole from expressing her love for nature.
Ms Sithole has turned her yard into an attractive garden where she grows different kinds of flowers and ornamental plants.
She got floriculture skills from her father who used to work as an Agritex officer in Bikita, Masvingo province. Ms Sithole said her mother also loves growing trees and flowers, a clear indication that the love for nature runs within the family. She has passed on the skill to her son whom she leaves in charge of her garden during the course of the week while she is in Lupane where she works as a District Development Coordinator (DDC).
Ms Sithole said she would love to also establish an orchard but at the moment she cannot because of limited space.
Ms Sithole said she established her garden at her house in 2000.
“As a teenager I developed a liking for flowers, plants and trees as my parents love nature. My father worked at Agritex and he loves growing trees and flowers. I also had my own small garden at home where I learnt how to tend flowers and plants. When I moved to my house in Cowdray Park I established my own garden,” she said.
“I started off with a few flowers and slowly my collection started growing to the extent that I don’t even know the names of some of the flowers I have. Sometimes when I see a flower and plant that I like from someone I ask for seedlings and put it in my own garden. For some of my flowers I buy seeds.”
She said examples of flowers and plants she has include elephant tears, elephant ears, juranda, umbrella among others.
Ms Sithole said she has a few trees as the space in her yard does not permit her to start an orchard. She said she sells her flowers but there were few takers. She said that it was probably because people in her suburb do not have much interest in buying flowers.
Ms Sithole said she sometimes gets business from people who come to her garden for wedding and birthday pictures. She said having plants and flowers in her yard does not only provide a necessary splash of colour but it also has health benefits. Ms Sithole said doing her gardening had become a healthy hobby for her as it has a soothing effect.
She said some plants and flowers have medicinal effects.
“These flowers and plants don’t only make my home attractive but they have several benefits as well. They promote healing and are a good way for me to de-stress. Whenever I’m in my garden tending to my flowers, I become overwhelmed with warmth and happiness. Most of the time when I’m working in the garden I will be singing as well.
Plants and flowers also purify the air. Flowers and plants help to stimulate our minds and bodies, that’s why when a person is hospitalised they are sent flowers because of the huge impact they have,” she said.
Ms Sithole said whenever visitors arrive at her home they are awed by her garden. She said her friends have even expressed a desire to start their own gardens. Some have tried but failed. She said great skill, discipline and commitment were needed for one to start and maintain a flower and plant garden.
She said when planting her flowers and plants she ensures that she gets the best soil as flowers need good soil to grow strong and healthy. She also considers the location for her flowers as an area with too much direct sun or too much shade will make it difficult for some flowers to grow.
Ms Sithole said she also has chemicals that she applies to her flowers and plants to get rid of parasites. “I also take the seasons into consideration before planting my flowers. It’s best to plant flowers in spring because the weather will be conducive.
Flowers don’t do well under extreme weather conditions, that’s when it’s too cold or hot. There is a also a specific way to plant specific plants and flowers, this involves the depth of the hole. When planting flowers it’s not advisable to add a lot of soil to the top of the flower,” she said.
Flowers and plants need to be watered regularly especially during extreme weather conditions. She said water needs however vary from flower to flower as some require more water than others.
It it is also important to ensure that flowers and plants stay clear of weeds as they take nutrients from the soil and take up space in the ground thereby affecting the growth of flowers.
“Flowers and plants need tending. As the owner of the garden there is a role that I have to play to ensure my flowers grow well and then there are some processes I leave to nature. The garden has to be monitored on a daily basis to ensure that the flowers grow well and are not affected by parasites,” she [email protected]