Back here in Kigali. . .

We have orchids in the acacia tree.
34 orchids

1c orchids

These two clumbs of orchids came out of the big old Norfolk pine that used to grow at the entrance to the terrace. (It was cut down a year and a half ago when it was clear it was dying.)

1 orchids

When we wired them onto the acacia, the gardener said the flowers were yellow, but I really didn’t think I’d ever see them bloom.

1a orchids

1b orchids

5 orchids

Another change: at the end of the long lawn (below), we have added two tall pots to set off a trio of pine trees.

10 pots

I will plant something tall to the right of the trees/pots grouping.

12 pots

At the other end of the lawn, I placed this single tall pot. I will enlarge the planting area at the base of the traveller’s palm and add some stones to make a level base for the pot.

13 pots

And finally, I faced the fact that my stepping stones and grass arrangement (below) on the right side of the entrance to the terrace just didn’t work. (The aforementioned Norfolk pine used to fill this area.)


We (meaning the gardener mostly) took up all the grass and stones . . .

21 front

and we replanted (meaning me) with the same plants that are in the borders around the driveway:

front circle

Mexican sage, small pink shrub roses (like ‘The Fairy’), datura, lambs’ ear, and yellow day lilies.

23 front

I’m still working on the placement of the pots. Please stay tuned.

13 thoughts on “Back here in Kigali. . .

  1. The orchid is amazing. I like the effect of the grass and stones and am curious why you decided it didn’t work out. Of course, the new plantings will be nice too. What is the blue flowering groundcover in that same area? Thanks.

  2. The blue flowering groundcover is Evolvulus ‘Blue Sapphire,’ which, I think, is only hardy in Florida in the U.S.

    The grass and stepping stones just looked kind of messy. The gardener would cut around all the stones and a week later it would look ragged again. Also the space is very open and I think it will benefit by a little vertical interest (when the Mexican sage grows; I’m also considering putting in a double-stemmed palm tree — what do you think?).

  3. The orchid is amazing — quite beautiful to behold. These photos give me a really clear sense of (at least one part of) your garden. I’m struck by how dominant the light standards are, particularly the round globes.The shape is very strong. I wonder if they would feel more comfortable in the setting if you repeated round forms in the borders, or in some other way.

    1. Ah, those lights. . . They look O.K. now, but here’s a photo of what they looked like when we arrived in Kigali:

      . . . “dominant” and depressing.

      [More here:

      Now (after some dark brown paint) the floating white balls are kind of charming at night, but I’m really hoping that the rather Victorian lamp posts can be replaced someday.

      Almost all the borders are irregular curves (like the hills in our view) against a straight line (a clipped hedge, stone walls, driveway curb). I’m working on curves horizontally (the shape of the planting beds carved out of the grass) and vertically (the naturally shaped masses of shrubs emerging out of the clipped bougainvillea hedge). As I laid out the planting beds, I found that making a “convincing” and interesting irregular line of curves was harder that I had thought, and I still need to work on them a bit.

      Also, I didn’t consider round shapes for very long, because I had done them a few years previously in Niger. I think I was a little circled-out:

    1. I can live with the lights pretty happily now that the posts are dark.

      It is wonderful to see orchids outside here. In Washington, I just buy a new one for the kitchen table from Whole Foods (sort of a Woolworths) every 3 months.

  4. I would like to have an orchid growing in one of my trees. I will have to settle for clematis growing in trees, but I haven’t yet succeeded in achieving that, but I keep trying. Your garden looks lovely, and i like the lights, too. Very cosmopolitan.

  5. I’ve never had much luck with clematis, but I did once get an old apricot-blooming climbing rose to grow up into a dogwood tree.

    I have never grown orchids in Africa because they always seemed to need extra stuff, like driftwood and moss. I can’t really say I “grew” this one, because we just slung it up there and tied it on with fishing line. It (and the tree) did the rest.

  6. That orchid is gorgeous. That is the first orchid I ever really noticed, feel in love with and purchased. Don’t have much luck getting them to reboom but they last so long, I am now treating them more like a bouquet that I enjoy while it lasts.

Leave a Reply to Of Gardens Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.