From Kitale to the city, with love for growing flowers

From Kitale to the city, with love for growing flowers
  • There’s an app my assistants and I use to get the name of a flower.
  • Indoor plants include philodendron, calatheas, ferns, snake plants, hydrangea and succulents.
  • Plants such as the lemon geranium are a repellent for houseflies.
  • Rosemary and mint are used as herbs for seasoning food.

I don’t know about yours but my mother, like all mothers in our neighbourhood, had a money plant. It sat lonely in a corner of the living room, the area around it hallowed as the holy ground. My father hated it. She had wrapped the plant’s pot — a white plastic Kimbo container — in shiny wrapping paper. As if it was a gift to herself.

I don’t know what became of that plant but my mother is retired now and farming in Kaplong. Her urban interest clearly matured into something greater than what was contained in that Kimbo plastic. She speaks to her plants.

I think about my mother when I’m down at Sarevic Flowers; the firm sells indoor and outdoor plants for residential and non-residential areas. Victor Malesi, 31, owns it. I find Victor and his team conversing in hushed tones. Plant ground really is holy ground.

This is Victor’s story:


I was a tree farmer in Matunda (Kitale County) for several years until 2013. I don’t recall the year I first went into it, though. My father left us when I was young so I learnt early to do manual jobs for money. I, with my wife, farmed trees for sale — bubblegum, cypress, pine, fig … She still farms in Kitale, it’s what takes our three kids to school and puts food in their plates.