‘Mama Bonsai’ blooms in flower landscaping
- Plants have been part of Ms. Shah’s life since she started at university. As a hobby, she created bonsai mainly for her own pleasure.
- Ornamental plants are one of nature’s most beautiful gifts, contributing enormously to making life a pleasure.
If Prachi Shah were to be a flower on a farm, she would be a grafted desert rose. Growing and growing slowly, it gains color and beauty and, when fully grown, a wonder of nature – magnificent with spectacularly colored trumpet flowers.
Why a desert rose, I ask. “Well, that would, inaccurately, describe my background as a landscaper working with ornamental plants,” says Ms Shah of her Mombasa-based flower farm, Prachi Creations.
Established in 2009, the business involves beautifying and furnishing various sites, homes and offices using ornamental plants and, on a smaller scale, selling beautiful potted plants, primarily grafted desert roses.
Plants have been part of Ms. Shah’s life since she started at university. As a hobby, she created bonsai mainly for her own pleasure.
“In 2008, I took part in an exhibition which became the springboard for my entrepreneurial journey. After the show, I started collecting a variety of native plants for Bonsai beauties and over time moved into landscaping,” she explains. “The art of bonsai taught me to be calm, persistent, patient with great attention to detail, qualities that helped me become a good entrepreneur.”
A very ‘khatarnaak’ (dangerous) woman who takes big risks and dabbles in all things adventurous and challenging, Ms. Shah began importing, selling and arranging ornamental plants from the international market. The response has been phenomenal, boosting her business immensely.
“I chose to work with ornamental plants because they are charming. Desert roses, for example, are highly valued due to their many color shades and variety. One look at them and people fall in love,” she says. “Furthermore, few people worked in landscaping using ornamental flowers.”
Ornamental plants are one of nature’s most beautiful gifts, contributing enormously to making life a pleasure. They are visual delights intentionally planted for aesthetic appeal. With beauty as a mainstay, ornamental plants are a perfect fit for our outdoor and indoor spaces.
They add character to dull corners, soften harsh interiors and flood our gardens with splashes or pops of color. In addition, they purify and scent the air and attract wildlife. There is nothing more practical and comforting than an ornamental plant.
Eleven years later, Ms. Shah has established herself as both a bonsai artist and an ornamental landscaper. His farm contains a treasure trove of fascinating and living propagated bonsai including ficus, acacia, baobab as well as grafted and local grafted roses.
“The oldest plant I have is a 23-year-old baobab tree. As for the roses, I have a stock of more than 50 grafted desert roses. Colors vary from pink, yellow, black, purple, orange, red and more,” she says adding that she has other types of ornamental plants like Ixora plants that produce clusters of star-shaped flowers. which have a prolonged flowering power.
Ms. Shah imports her plants from India and Thailand, a very precarious process. You have to be very careful with the characteristics of the plants, especially how they behave during transit when importing. If a plant cannot survive without soil for a few days, importing it will be a fruitless endeavor.
It is with the same inspired dedication that she delivers and anchors the plants in the soils of her customers. Fortunately, most of them are familiar with the rose.
“I have local and foreign clients who communicate through social media and word of mouth. Some come to look for plants to liven up their outdoor spaces, to embellish their interior decorations – bedrooms or living rooms – or to give an outdoor air to their balconies. But one thing they have in common is that they are all plant lovers.
Ms. Shah, also known as Mama Bonsai, beams with pride in her work. Every job is an opportunity to meet new people and grow as an individual and a landscaper. His achievements are a source of happiness and satisfaction.
The highlight of his 11-year career was when one of his bonsai trees was chosen as a gift for First Lady Margaret Kenyatta. An ongoing highlight is the fact that she is the only importer of grafted desert roses. But there is more.
“Recently I successfully undertook the restoration of a 35 year old Ficus and evergreen Terminalia Mantaly which were uprooted and left to hover between life and death. Both were brought back to life after 110 days In 180 days they stood upright covered in lush green leaves.
Because desert roses are great for landscaping, how do you get the most out of them? As the name suggests, a dry, warm environment is bliss for them. Therefore, place these eye-catching roses in full sun (preferably somewhere where their beauty and splendor will be recognized) in sandy, stony soil mixed with compost.
Water sparingly to avoid drowning them. If planted in a container, be sure to do so in a good soil mix and a container with good drainage to allow excess water to drain immediately.
In conclusion, I ask Mrs. Shah if flowers are like human beings. “Yes, they are. Both need and yearn for the same things: love and care.