The Not-So-Botanical Guide of Our Yard

Before arriving in Dar, my mental image of Africa consisted of dust and brush.  While I can’t say that image was proven completely false (especially the dust part), we have found that plant life in Tanzania is exciting and lush.  Most everything that grows here is new to us, and we are especially thrilled that our yard is full of blossoming trees and shrubs to gaze upon.  Special thanks to our predecessors who planted coconut, banana, orange and papaya trees. We are literally enjoying the fruits of their labor.

We have also found that plants here grow extremely quickly and with little assistance.  When discarded branches in the trash pile were recycled and used as stakes to hold up the tomato plants, the stakes themselves took root and grew leaves in just a few short weeks.  Water is the chief limitation to a thriving garden and sometimes there are shortages, but we have learned to manage the flow.

Without knowledge of botanical names, I am left with mostly pictures, but please enjoy these images of our abundant, Tanzanian garden.  First, the edible:

Stand of banana trees out back

More bananas

This guy showed up at our gate asking to harvest our coconuts. As payment, he took the majority with him and left a few for us.

He had no problem gripping with his feet while using his knife to loosen the coconuts.

I drank one fresh and used the rest for cooking.

I asked Issa to create a vegetable garden. When I came home, this is what he'd done. He calls it a "shamba" which means farm.

...And here's the shamba a few weeks later.

Green pepper (pilipili hoho)

Okra (bamia) has a beautiful flower. You can see the ocra starting to pop out on the stalk.

Papaya tree

Orange tree

Other interesting plants:

This is a really interesting tree that always seems to flower, but often has no leaves. The branches remind me of antlers.

Here is a close up of the flowers from the tree above. They smell like a magnolia, but they're colorful.

Another close up of the above flowers.

Beautiful in the wind.

This is a non-edible ginger plant.

This is a non-edible ginger plant.

We have no idea what this snakey looking plant is.

This is some kind of honey locust. The trunks on these trees branch out into tall, thin walls. Issa sometimes temporarily stores brush behind them. Rutledge loves to forage around here for bones.

These are incredibly delicate-looking in real life.

Lantana camara, the only plant that I've successfully identified.

And lastly, the porch where we can enjoy it all!