Homes and Property
Scent your garden with trees and shrubs
Posted Wednesday, February 20 2013 at 02:00
Why not choose plants that perform best when you are actually around to enjoy them? Plant a few of these aromatic gems around your home and add a whole new level of relaxation.
To give your garden a touch of mystery and allure, think pleasant smelling trees and shrubs. Wouldn’t occasional wafts of Citrus Lemon or the calming effect of Eucalyptus lift your spirits on a hot and languid afternoon? What about the refreshing fragrance of the Night Queen or the Gardenia on a cool night?
Emmanuel Mukama, a gardener and resident of Baki Close in Munyonyo, attests to the fragrant nature of citrus trees. ‘I have an orange tree in the garden, but apart from supplying us with oranges, its scent cheers the garden.’
Citrus trees are flowering plants from the Rutaceae family. They include oranges, lemon, grapefruit, lime and tangerines. They are usually large shrubs or small trees that grow five to fifteen metres tall, with scented evergreen leaves.
On its propagation he says: “Determine a spot around your favourite lounging areas and plant your seedling there. Keep watering it twice a day – at 7 am in the morning and at 7 pm in the evening. Make sure you create a basin around the plant, from where you can weed and mulch as the need may arise.”
He says the Citrus Canker, Aphids, Whitefly, Scale Insects and the Aphids-transmitted Citrus Tristezavirus may attack it and you need to spray it with Ambush or Marathon. If you are averse to pesticides, sprinkle a little ash over it whenever a problem arises.
Orange trees as do most Citrus trees take two to three years to mature.
Mr Mukama has also planted a Eucalypus tree (Eucalyptus globulus) by the wall away from the house. “Although its leaves and bark give off a nice scent, I decided to plant it there because its branches can get big. They tend to fall off unexpectedly and can harm people.”
There are over 250 Eucalyptus tree species. Whether or not to plant it in your garden is still a contentious matter. Make your decision after weighing all the options. These are some, not all of them:
The naysayers say they grow tall, 80 to 160 feet high, with shallow roots and that when the soil is wet and it gets windy, they fall over easily; its aromatic oil is highly flammable and can explode when on fire and shoot debris over wide areas; the bark and seeds are messy and fall constantly. You can slip on the seeds, which feel like walking on ball bearings; and that once they are established, they are difficult to get rid of.
But there are more benefits to be reaped from growing the Eucalyptus in your garden: It requires little attention. Some people live in water-logged areas and would appreciate it if the Eucalyptus lowered the water table in their areas of residence. The tree is also used in malaria-prone areas, to deprive mosquitoes of their breeding places. It is good for firewood and for ornamental purposes.
You can harvest the wood every 10 years and new growth will spring from the stump unaided. Its fast growth makes it suitable as windbreaks and to reduce erosion. It is popular with bee keepers for making honey.
If you have a small garden, you can control its growth by pruning it so that it shoots several branches near the ground.
Oil from Eucalyptus leaves can be used for cleaning, as an antiseptic, as an industrial solvent, as a deodorant, in food supplements like cough drops, sweets, decongestants and in toothpaste. It is used in mosquito and other insect repellents.
The eucalyptus is mostly pest-free because of its aromatic scent, but can suffer from Oedema and the Eucalyptus Gall Wasp.