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Gardening

This Garden Keeps Diners Coming Back

Betty Wanjiru
Betty Wanjiru waters her flowers at her restaurant in Nyeri town. PHOTO | GRACE GITAU 

Spilling and trailing flowers in hanging baskets form a ring around Betty’s Restaurant in Nyeri town. The pink, blue, red and a range of other beautiful flowers enhance the exterior of the once dusty and messy gas station and garage.

The new look has changed the image of the Osman Allu roundabout. The flower varieties include geraniums, lantanas, ferns, bamboos among others.

Betty Wambugu, the restaurant owner says as a new hotelier in Nyeri, she realised that people do not enjoy sitting in enclosed rooms and prefer outdoors.

Betty says she asked a friend who is a flower enthusiast to buy for her the plants which she got from Nairobi.

“Some flowers are quite expensive as well as the pots and baskets but it is worth it. We are thinking of starting a flower nursery because I have received so many enquiries,” she says.

You will be forgiven to imagine that just because Nyeri is located in an agricultural zone, the streets are lined with trees, well-trimmed bushes and flowers.

Just like most towns, high-rise buildings are rapidly sprouting on what should be agricultural land and tens of working class are knowingly or unknowingly contributing to the heavy traffic jams.

But the lush green at Betty’s Restaurant is offering a break to hundreds of residents. The restaurant is next to Karson House which is one of the tallest and oldest buildings in Nyeri.

Inside the hotel, you lose track of time enjoying the homely ambience.

“After finishing their meals, most customers are not a hurry to leave and that is the experience we want them to have,” says Betty, who adds that such greening helps reduce effects of climate change.

Several polished wooden tables sit under large umbrellas, protecting guests from rain and sun. It has a nyama choma section as well as a bar.

Betty has turned an old gas station that was being used by mechanics into a vibrant restaurant that in June introduced bitcoins as a mode of payment, a first in the region.

She started by washing off the oil and dirt patches. She then built a three-course stonewall. To give her customers some privacy when dining, she bought shade nets often used in greenhouses.

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