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Two flowers to brighten the rainy days

By: CONSTANCE OBONYO

The rainy seasons start in March and September. Therefore gardeners should be preparing their flowerbeds for planting in March. Paddy Namanya, manager at The Flower Centre, Freedom City Mall in Najjanankumbi recommends the Hydrangea (Hydrangea or Hortensia) and the Pink Rain Lily (Zephyranthes Grandiflora) for your consideration this planting season.

HYDRANGEAS

These are ornamental flowers and are therefore pleasant to look at. They come in white, blue, pink, red and light or dark purple.

Planting them

Acidic soils will produce flower colours closer to blue, while alkaline soils will produce flower colours closer to pink. Depending on the type, it can be a flowerbed plant, a shrub, a climber or a small tree.

Propagate it using its stem cuttings and plant it in small holes at least a metre apart.

As they grow

Watering is not necessary during the rain season. Water it twice a week during the dry season. Prune after it has matured, “to give it shape”. Namanya does not recommend mulching, because the mulch attracts ants that can eat the stems up. It will take six to eight months to mature.

Price

A cutting costs between Shs2,500 and Shs4,000 at the Flower Centre, Freedom City Mall.

PINK RAIN LILY

This is a flower bed plant and is one of many species of Rain Lily.

It closes up at night and usually appears after it has rained, hence the name. It is also pleasant to look at.

Planting them

Plant it en masse in flower beds to get the most out of its beauty. It is easy to maintain and does not need much water. Water it twice a week. Propagate it by planting its bulb in small holes at least two feet apart. You can also plant it among other short flowers. Don’t plant it in containers, because it prefers a garden setting. Mulching is not necessary, especially during the dry season. Weed regularly. It will take two to four months to mature.

Price

A bulb costs Shs3,000 to Shs5,000 at the Flower Centre, Freedom City Mall.

Make them work together

If you love colour, use hydrangeas to draw observers’ interest above the ground to colourful shrubs and small trees; and the Pink Rain Lily to add interest nearer the ground. Also, hydrangea flowers are so numerous, there will be plenty left over after you have filled your flower vases and the children are done mutilating the rest.

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