Lynus Oure: How growing flowers on my balcony relieves stress

From left: Lynus Oure in his balcony garden in Kiambu County and Geraniums growing in his balcony garden.  

Photo credit: Bonface Bogita | Nation Media Group

Over the last few years, whenever Lynus Oure has felt overwhelmed with stress, he has turned to his balcony garden to decompress.

The sound of hummingbirds and the captivating scents from herbs and shrubs as he drinks mint-flavoured tea on his six-by-three-foot apartment balcony always melt away his worries and give him a fresh perspective on life.

His idyllic urban lifestyle began in 2021 when the Covid-19 lockdown forced residents to work from home.

During this period, Lynus transformed his small outdoor space into a green haven. It is a mini-farm filled with vibrant flowers, fragrant herbs, and dwarf fruit trees.

“I started with two plants during the Covid-19 lockdown. From there, I began adding plants one at a time. All I needed was something green because I love gardening and I don’t have a big space,” Lynus recalls, eyes sparkling as he looks over his lush balcony.

Initially, he grew rosemary and mint but added more flowers over time. “I am a plant person. Some people love animals, but for me, it’s plants.”

When he moved into his new flat in 2022, Lynus expanded his collection of herbs and vegetables, finding that gardening opened up a whole new world for him.

Variety of plants at Lynus Oure house balcony garden located in Karura, Kiambu County on June 18, 2024.

Photo credit: Bonface Bogita | Nation Media Group

From the outside, his balcony looks like a lush oasis brimming with life stuck in the middle of a sea of his neighbours’ dry and bare balconies.

He remarks, “Not everyone lives in a house with a balcony, but those who do can still grow a lot. You can grow herbs, vegetables, and even small fruit trees,” Lynus points out.

He has paid close attention to maximising his small space, ensuring it is both productive and enjoyable. His approach to gardening is minimalist, yet effective, with more than ten different species of plants thriving on his balcony.

In his small garden, 80 percent of the plants are edible and 20 percent are ornamental. Gooseberries are ripe and ready to eat, having taken about a year to bear fruit.

A Peace lily at Lynus Oure's house balcony garden located in Karura, Kiambu County on June 18, 2024.

Photo credit: Bonface Bogita | Nation Media Group

“I did not plant them. The seeds came from the birds,” he says with a chuckle.

Recently, he harvested onions.

Over a cup of coffee, the 35-year-old enjoys the scent of geranium and the peace offered by his peace lily. His first plant, rosemary, is still flourishing after four years, adding flavour to his soups. He also grows basil, which he uses to marinate chicken.

“I don’t need to buy rosemary,” he says proudly.

His robust mint plant, growing in a small tin, provides refreshing mint water and thrives in various conditions.

For Lynus, any space with light, soil, and room can become a garden.

“A garden is a garden, regardless of size or scale. Even if you only have a few partially shaded square metres or half-empty spots on your apartment balcony, you have space for a garden,” he insists.

He has planted dwarf pawpaw and passion fruit, which is close to fruiting, in plastic containers. In another large container, a lemon cypress shows its vibrant green, alongside marigolds and aloe vera, which serve as medicinal plants.

“Having plants in containers helps with transport, so I’ve learned to upcycle things I find—reusing old plastic bins and containers to keep costs down,” Lynus explains.

As a seasonal planter who rotates plants, he prefers tins to vases, finding them more practical for his needs. He sources plants from friends, and street vendors, and propagates them himself.

“Part of the joy of interacting with a garden is tending it, watering it, composting it, and harvesting it through the whole cycle.”

Mint herbs at Lynus Oure's house balcony backyard garden located in Karura, Kiambu County on June 18, 2024.

Photo credit: Bonface Bogita | Nation Media Group

Living in the hustle and bustle of the capital, Lynus finds that working with nature has a healing effect. His balcony garden has become a haven for birds, including hummingbirds that visit daily at 6 am. The birds also provide natural fertiliser by pooping in the flower pots.


A frequent traveller, Lynus has developed a technique to keep his plants hydrated during his absences.

“I take a plastic bottle and make a needle-sized hole for each plant. Sometimes they last for two months,” he shares.


Gooseberry fruits in Lynus Oure's house balcony garden located in Karura, Kiambu County on June 18, 2024.

For Lynus, gardening is more than a hobby—it keeps him busy and relieves stress.

“Once you start gardening, you don’t stop,” he says, content in his little green paradise.

PAYE Tax Calculator

Note: The results are not exact but very close to the actual.