From Uganda to Scotland

I arrived back to a very chilly Scotland on 6 April, following a very productive and enjoyable trustee visit to the school that our small family charity, The Uphill Trust, are helping to develop.

Uphill Junior School location

The school is in a stunning location in the crater lake hill region of western Uganda, with the Rwenzori Mountains rising high in the background. This photo was taken from Isunga Lodge – a new guest house that has been established in the area by a Scottish couple (the Scots get everywhere, it seems!).

Before I retrained as a garden designer, I worked for a number of years in education and one of the highlights of my time in Uphill Junior School this trip was sharing expertise with the kindergarten and lower primary teachers  – I was showing them how they can use the books we had taken out to the school in previous years for Shared Reading activities. I now need to go shopping for ‘more big books please’!

The joy of visiting equatorial Uganda during the rainy season are the plants – I never tire of the ‘houseplants in the garden’ experience.

Hippeastrum – growing here outside a Ugandan home whilst back home in Scotland they cluster in pots on a sunny windowsill inside.

It is easy to get plants for the garden – roadside nurseries like this one line the roads on the approach to most towns.

The botanical gardens have a different emphasis too – they concentrate more on saving indigenous species, learning how to cultivate them and providing education about their medicinal uses (essential in a country where western medicines are often unaffordable and not readily available outside the urban areas).

I plan to take a detailed ‘medicinal plants tour’ in the Tooro Botanical Gardens on my next visit…

On Easter Sunday we had a day off from our charity responsibilities and took a drive out into the hills north of Fort Portal. These steep slopes are farmed by local people, without the aid of terracing, which I find quite amazing.

Back home, spring seems to be moving along nicely now that the snow has melted and it’s back to the garden and planting design work for another year.

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