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It still goes back to Eden

By Sereba Agiobu-Kemmer
30 April 2016   |   3:09 am
Nigerians especially the rich, who can easily afford plants, and flowers, rarely take an interest in flowers and gardening in general.
Pineapple plant

Pineapple plant

Nigerians especially the rich, who can easily afford plants, and flowers, rarely take an interest in flowers and gardening in general. Well, most might appreciate blossoming plants and floral arrangements in the homes of friends and neighbors, but they don’t want to be encumbered with flower arranging, with gardening, or to see it as a possible pastime, nor themselves as ‘gardeners.’

In our society, more people are embracing gardening as a hobby in recent times (mostly for food security), but honestly, we are still not doing enough. A larger part of the society do not have an appreciation, nor a maintenance culture for plants. Plant abuse and destruction of nature is rampant in our communities, when we should be doing more in the care and preservation of plants in our environment, knowing that our survival lies in the presence of plants and trees. If you remove plants out of this world, you would have taken life out of man. One of the basic elements that man requires for survival is oxygen. Without oxygen, he cannot breathe; without breathing man cannot live. Oxygen, that is required for man’s survival, is produced by plants. That is the reason why we should be doing more in the area of their care and protection.

We obtain our staple foods, fruits and vegetables from plants, which provide us nourishment and vitality, the strength for a healthy life. Not just that, the plant world is a source of materials we use in the manufacture of products we use in daily life; for building and furniture, clothes, shoes, paper, transportation vehicles, weapons and tools, medicines, all originate from plants. Plants are so important for man’s survival, that God the creator of man and everything, first planted a garden, according to accounts in the Bible (Genesis 2: verses 8 and 15), East of Eden before creating and putting man in it to live there, with the instructions to ‘tend and care’ for the plants. God is still unsurpassed as master landscape designer and master gardener.

God was the first gardener, does that surprise you?

If God the Creator of man and everything should appreciate the importance of plants to put man in the garden to be able to live and thrive, how can we continue to ignore God’s example and instructions to show such indifference to God’s creation meant for our benefit? Why don’t we care and preserve plants in our environment and follow in God’s wisdom to be ‘gardeners’ in our environments? We should think seriously about this and begin the transformation to become gardeners like God and to live in a plant-filled world.

We cannot divorce our lives, our very existence from plants, and nature in general. Plants are not just a creation to beautify our environments (which they do), they should be seen as our survival mechanism.

Starting a garden is not expensive, with proper management. Gardening is fun and rewarding past time.

All things in life need not be expensive and so it should be with gardening. So you can easily pick up a handful of seeds for virtually nothing and grow for yourself a banquet of flowers. If it is biennial seeds, it will grow this year and bloom for you again next year. As most plants self-seed, you would have found for yourself a long-term flowering investment. What better time for making that profitable investment than now that the rainy season has started?

Dwarf orange tree

Dwarf orange tree

The best way to have an interesting garden is to start from scratch or re-do an old one. Start by planning and designing your garden into beds, borders, walkways, lawns and all you intend to make it, before you even start turning the soil. When you have designed and made your beds, you can go looking for what you want to plant. You will find that there are many quick blooming plants like ‘balsams,’ marigolds, dahlias, begonias, African violets, sweet peas, peaonies, dwarf ixora and the list is endless. Pop the seeds in an old unused spot in the garden, or in trays, ready to be transferred later to prepared beds or flowerpots.

If you don’t get seeds and cuttings from neighbors and friends’ gardens, you can always buy some seed packets and cuttings from a garden center. There are many bedding plants in popular and unusual varieties. One way of turning your garden into great carpets of color is through promising seeds. The only way to have interesting things in your garden is to find and grow them from scratch. Some unusual, lesser known or rare plants can be grown in this way. Many annuals are quick to reach maturity and will begin to flower from within 3 weeks to 3 months.

Many old varieties can be grown from seeds and once established, many of these amenable plants like Sweet William, Honesty, Balsams, Wall flowers and Polyanthus, produce seeds themselves from year to year.

You can make hanging baskets for special display. Other plants come from cuttings such as roses. Ixora can be plant from seeds or cuttings. You can sow your lawn for beautification or romping on. By trial and error, some gardeners have gone into the breeding and refining a strain of a particular plant. There are many flowering house plants and even roses that are hardy and hybrids to pick and choose from.

Some gardeners do not take kindly to being told what is good for their gardens and this is partly from a spirit of adventure, of wanting to discover things for themselves. They would rather make mistakes and have an interesting time and build up their experience.

“The greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add a useful plant to its culture.”

“…but tho’ an old man, I am but a young gardener.”

-Quotes from Thomas Jefferson (April13, 1743-July 4, 1826), the third president, USA 18001-9.