Last weekend we went to the Entebbe Botanic Gardens. Having worked at the Oxford Uni Botanics Gardens I am intrigued to see how different gardens run and what their strenghts and challenges are – so before going I emailed a few people to see if we could meet up and talk plants. The one person who got back to me was out of the country when we visited. A shame. So it was the two of us on our own. We did get a guide at the Botanic gardens who unfortunately was not particularly interested in anything other than finishing our tour so he could give some more people a brief but expensive tour.
The gardens has some amazing trees and palms. Not much in the way of shrubs or ornamental flowers, but there is a herb garden. Many labels are missing around the garden (especially in the herb garden). The feature trees are well labelled with Genus and Species. The collection of trees is quite incredible to be honest. Kapok, Cola, Cannonball tree, Incense, Cinnamon, Camphor, Mahogany and many many others. We intended to go back for a second visit but we were met with torrential rain, and extreme tiredness (accommodation next to a night club). I had hoped to get a good collection of plant stories done, but opportunities did not arise. We got one recorded and it was very brief – but a new plant – vanilla. Excellent.
We find that we need to meet someone, and establish a certain rapport with them before asking about the plants that are important to them. We often get to the rapport part and then are robbed by them leaving, or missing opportunities, or us leaving. For example – The boda-boda (motor cycle taxi) driver who was particularly friendly –who left in too much of a hurry. The Geologist we met on the way back to Kampala – who got out one stop before us, and the noise in the taxi was too loud to fully understand each other. The “wine for breakfast” old man at our accommodation who was lovely and we’d decided the next time we saw him we would interview him (and it would have been a good one). We are getting stories together but it is not easy.