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Who Is In The Garden: Veggies, Trees, Flowers, Or None?

The composition of your home garden can tell in some ways, your visible or latent personality. Some serial killers make burial sites of their gardens as reported over the years. Some gardens are just plain grounds. Others contain vegetable plants, tree(s), flowers, garden furniture, or a combination of two or more of these. Some property owners manage to find little space to do a grave for their deceased within their compound but can’t seem to find a space to make a garden for the living. The trend for modern home development in major cities in the country especially Lagos shows a deliberate disregard for gardens and greens; every inch of external space has been floored, paved, or simply left bared or unattended.

Several private developers are perhaps ignorant of the positive environmental impact of healthy gardens or gardening on the health of building occupants, including their mental health which is a major source of concern the world over. They are keener on making a profit from every inch of space than the environmental health and well-being of occupants. Lisa Wimmer, a nurse practitioner and an avid gardener based in Lake City identified some of the benefits of gardening as increased exercise, improved diet (for home-grown foods), time in nature (physical health with clean nature), reduced stress levels, and aiding social connection. It is not uncommon to see property shoppers who are based overseas or have spent most of their lives closer to nature in the suburbs desire that their properties in the cities have gardens or a semblance of a garden of some sort but these desires have not largely been met and in the face of huge housing supply shortage, they are forced to settle for whatever is available.

It is an irony to see that some estate names have the word “gardens” attach to them but you struggle to find a living plant there not to mention a garden. Is the garden culture in Nigerian cities dying? Your guess is as good as mine. The cost of living is high and many people fall ill frequently, medicinal plants like bitter-leaf, herb plants, and aloe vera planted in home gardens can come in handy to the rescue for first aid, immune boosters, or alternative therapy. Also, home-grown leafy vegetable plants like pumpkin, scent-leaf, water-leaf, and greens for soups can reduce the overall cost of feeding in homes and enable the consumption of healthy meals throughout the year. Many other types of vegetables or veggies having both medical and nutritional benefits can be homegrown in gardens. These include potatoes, zucchini, onions, okra, beets, turnips, cabbage, radishes, carrots, basil, lettuce, tomatoes, beans, peppers, broccoli, strawberries, cucumbers, swiss chard, kale, summer squash, cauliflower, eggplant or garden eggs, peas, brussels sprouts, spinach, garlic, scallions, spinach, asparagus, etc. Growing a few of these plants in your garden is always a therapeutic blessing. 

Gardens should also have flowers. Flowers are not only nature’s beauty, they have a lot of benefits to building occupants from being a natural healthy companion to some specie helping the ability to prevent snakes and harmful animals from cohabitating with you in the house and producing chemicals that help prevent insects that might want to harm your other plants or your veggies. They also help compete against weeds and create an aura or sensation of relaxation; engendering happiness and relief from stress.

Gardens can have trees. Trees have large surface areas that produce more oxygen as a byproduct of their respiration than veggies which could help in sanitizing the air in the compound by mopping up carbon dioxide at the same time. Apart from providing freshness and shade from direct ultraviolet rays from the sun, fruit-bearing trees are also good sources of vitamin-rich fresh fruits for direct consumption.

Whether it’s veggies, trees, or flowers, green improves the life and well-being of building occupants. There should be no excuse to jettison green areas in building development. Where external space is limited, developers at Heavensbeautiful believe that in-building garden concepts could be adopted and that as a matter of policy, all development no matter how little should have green areas or gardens to save the earth. While growing up there was a game kids played which is called – Who is in the garden? We will normally respond with “A little fine girl” Can I come and see her? We’d echo “No, no, no, no….”. With the fading garden culture, this ‘no’ response might hit hard on the planet due to our nonchalant attitude or disregard towards garden and gardening.

Osaz’ Enobakhare is an award-winning Structural Engineer, Builder & Contractor. He has successfully delivered over 100 projects across Nigeria and elsewhere in the last decade through his company, Heavens Contractors Ltd. He is involved in designs, construction, real estate, civil infrastructure, and industrial projects. He also builds mast/radio towers, steel structures, and allied works. You can reach him directly; +2347001113333/

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