Category Archives: Rwandan gardens

In our garden: Ross’s Turaco

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. . . an occasional large and dramatic avian visitor to our garden — about 30′ up, climbing around in one of our several Grevillea robusta trees.

Also known as Lady Ross Turacos, the birds are about 18″ long with mostly dark blue feathers. I got a very quick look at the ends of this one’s wings — bright red and only visible in flight.

I have seen them in different tall trees around the garden before — the last time in a pair. The males and females look exactly alike.

Today, this one was making only a noisy, repetitive croak, which drew me to look for it.  But, previously, I have also heard them make a more melodious call, which I remember as sort of a loud cooing sound (a contradictory description, I know).

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Our garden: sunflowers

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Just a little follow up to yesterday’s Bloom Day. . . .

The sunflowers I planted about a year and a half ago have continued to self-seed.

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They like to come up in the paths of the vegetable garden.

To see what’s blooming in other garden bloggers’ gardens, visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

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Bloom Day in August

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Flowers in the borders around our lower lawn, August 15, 2014.

To see what’s blooming in other garden bloggers’ gardens, visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

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(Not very) Wordless Wednesday: rain

Our Rwanda garden after rain, August 2014Raindrops on the Graptopetalum leaves yesterday morning.

It had rained the night before, for the third time in two weeks. Maybe the summer dry season is ending early?

(I would normally look for consistent heavy showers to start in early to mid September and last until late December.)

I have been hoping for an early fall rainy season, since we only have a few more months in the country, and I would like to see the garden in high growth mode one more time.

ADDENDUM: 6:27 p.m. — raining.

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Before and after: the lower lawn

It has been two years since I made a number of significant changes to our Kigali, Rwanda, garden, and I thought this would be a good time to look back with a series of “before and after” pictures.

Today, I’ll focus on the “lower lawn” — the largest part of the garden, which is parallel to and just below the “upper lawn.”

(You can read about the upper lawn’s “before and after” in my July 25 post here).

Before

enclos*ure: our Kigali garden, Fall 2011 - lower lawnPhotos above and below:  late 2011.

Then and now, looking down on the lower lawn from the front of the house, you see grass and a clipped bougainvillea hedge along the front of the property — and then the view above.

enclos*ure: our Kigali garden, late 2011 - lower lawnThis is to the right of the previous photo; that’s Mt. Kigali over the front hedge — seen from the center steps that align with the middle of the house and terrace.

When you go down the center steps and stand on the lower lawn, the views of the city and hills are hidden and the flower/shrub borders are all you see.

enclos*ure: our Kigali garden, Fall 2011 - lower lawn

Back in 2011, I thought it was all too straight, too wide (the grass), too dull.  And the bright white Victorian lampposts lined up out in the grass drove me crazy.

enclos*ure: our Kigali garden, Fall 2011 - lower lawnThere is a slight slope to the lawn, toward the front hedge. Along that hedge (shown above, right) was a very narrow planting strip, into which a variety of nice shrubs were wedged.  I always had a feeling that they and the lawn could just slide down under the hedge.

The practical purpose of the lower lawn area is holding large events.  And from that standpoint, it was already working well.  The occasional need to put up tents meant that we could not remove a lot of the grass, but, as you can see in the picture just above, there was enough room to create a wider, much more interesting planting bed along the front hedge.

After

enclos*ure: our Kigali garden, Summer 2012 - lower lawnAbove is the same area of the previous photo in the summer of 2012, soon after we started making changes.  At this point, we had already painted the lampposts dark brown.

All the borders in the garden on the north side of the house (next post) and along the upper and lower lawns were re-cut in irregular curves — echoing the forms of the surrounding hills. The curves also provide a counterpoint to the long straight lines of the parallel lawns, borders, walls, and front hedge.

enclos*ure: our Kigali garden, Summer 2014 - lower lawnAbove:  the same section in late June 2014.

While I couldn’t remove a lot of grass in the center section of the lawn, the curvy borders can swing out a bit at the north and south ends.

enclos*ure: our Kigali garden, Summer 2014 - lower lawnAbove: the full lower lawn, looking from the north.

enclos*ure: our Kigali garden, April 2014 - lower lawnAbove: standing on the upper lawn, looking across to the front border in April 2014.

enclos*ure: our Kigali garden, Summer 2014 - lower lawnAbove: standing at the center steps, looking across — this is the same view as in the second photo in this post, above.

enclos*ure: our Kigali garden, Summer 2014 - lower lawnAbove: the full lower lawn, looking from the south.

Before

enclos*ure: our Kigali garden, Fall 2011 - lower lawnAbove: in late 2011, on the house side of the lawn, the old 9′ heliconias in the border between the two retaining walls loomed down. . .

11 2011. . . and were pretty tattered; I think we had had a hail storm not long before I took the photo above.

After

enclos*ure: our Kigali garden, Summer 2014 - lower lawnAbove: the same section, in late June 2014.

enclos*ure: our Kigali garden, Summer 2014 - lower lawnAbove: the grass-level planting bed was extended out to contain the lampposts.

enclos*ure: our Kigali garden, Summer 2014 - lower lawnAbove: from the center of the lawn, looking at the south side of the retaining walls.

enclos*ure: our Kigali garden, April 2014 - lower lawnAbove: looking north in April 2014.

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