This Garden is For Teetotallers
Friday, May 3, 2019 14:25
By STANLEY KIMUGE
As teetotallers, you go out, someone offers you a beer. You say, “No thanks, I don’t drink.”
Nevertheless, in the spirit of sharing, he does not think that an adult can go out and not drink alcohol. He will pester.
“You don’t drink? What? Not at all, never drank in your life?” he will ask in disbelief.
There are a few recreational places such as restaurants or gardens in Kenya that are exclusive to non-drinkers, where they can enjoy a day out in peace without a friend or family member dangling a glass of beer near their lips to taste alcohol.
In Nandi county, along Eldoret-Kapsabet Road, there is one sober-friendly destination called King Solomon Gardens, that stands out.
Abraham Mutai, the proprietor of the garden says he realised that people wanted a quiet place to relax where alcohol is not sold.
He planted exotic and ingenious trees and flowers on the five-acre piece of land and in 2011 he opened it to paying customers.
At the garden, it is a sensory overload that one would want to be sober to take it all in.
The garden now attracts people who come for birthday parties, bridal showers, baby showers, engagement and office parties.
It is also become a popular venue for the conservatives or religious groups who visit to hold retreats or conferences.
To turn the empty garden into a spectacular space, Mr Mutai hired a retiree of Kenya Forest Service who did the landscaping and sourced various plant species grown in the garden.
He planted Nandi flame, Bishop wood (Boschofia Javania), Schevrella, Olea Africana, Austrialian Flame tree, Syzigium Guinense, Alibizia gummifera, Podocarpus Milanjianus, Bombax Rhodognaphalon, Marklamia Lutea, Olea Welwifsch (Elgon Teak), Podocarpus Gracilian, whistling palm and cypress.
Besides being a hangout for families and lovers, Mr Mutai notes that King Solomon Gardens has also become a popular place for those who would wish to buy different varieties of flowers or trees.
The garden has one of the largest collections of uncommon trees and flowers in the area.
“Some people walk to this garden and start inquiring where they can some of the trees and flowers that we have grown here,” he says.
Students from various schools on educational trips also make-stop overs at the garden.