Wednesday, January 18th, 2012...3:18 pm

Lynne’s Horticultural Experience in Botswana

A dear friend, Lynne, joined the Peace Corp and left sunny California and her beautiful garden to go to Botswana, Africa for a sunnier location and hopefully a new and beautiful garden. Lynne was sent to work in a town called Mmathethe. I asked her if she would write about some of her gardening experience and the plants that she sees in Botswana for readers around the world to read.

How much do we know about Botswana? If you want to read her humerous and delightful blog, check it out here.   Here is the first post for TheGardenLady with photographs and with some added comments from TheGardenLady.


The capitol of Botswana is Gaborone, affectionately known as GABS! It is located in the southeastern corner of Botswana. Mmathethe is located about 60 miles south west of Gabs. Mmathethe is pronounced Mateetee. Gaborone is pronounce Haboronee.

These are the plots being prepared for me to plant my garden with one more to go. One more garden plot to go! The plots are bigger than they look in the picture!

I believe the hibiscus is a native plant as I see it growing everywhere.

I don’t know what kind of trees are used for the decorations in the garden but there seems to be only one kind of tree in my village. The people cut the smaller limbs for fire wood to cook with, as well as carving them into shapes that suit their artistic ability. Typically, they use the larger limbs for benches under a tree where family and friends sit in the heat of the afternoon. It’s quite rustic and natural looking. Some even carve smaller limbs, putting a coat of some stain, then decorate around it inside their homes, thus, bringing the outside inside. Most people in this village cannot afford plants, and the ones that can, plant various fruit trees such as mango, papaya, oranges, and pomegranate. In the veggie plots, typically planted are maize, beans, and cabbage. This is a staple of the diet here, and you can see on any given day the women drying out the beans in traditional made baskets. The baskets with beans are also displayed at each wedding in the community.

TheGardenLady cannot identify the pink flower; if a reader knows the name, please write a comment about it.

The purple leaved plant with the pink flower seems to be Tradescantia pallida purpurea, common name Purple Heart Wandering Jew.  It is grown in the states as an indoor plant; though in areas without frosts it can be grown outdoors. It is a wildflower in Botswana. Tradescantia tends to become weedlike in many areas, so beware if you grow it outdoors.

Lynn asked the woman if she would make these shoes for her for the holidays.




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