Real estate developer Sultan Palace Development has set up a tree nursery and a 15.5-acre garden, to complement its 43-acre beachfront property, conserve the to environment and add value to the luxurious property.
The garden will have a combination of indigenous and exotic shrubs and varieties of palm trees, including some rare species, to support the tropical conditions and coastal architecture of the development, says General Manager Mr Liu Tiancai.
Indigenous and exotic plants have more impact than just aesthetics because they play a critical role in protecting the coast, thereby conserving the environment.
“Many of our indigenous forests have been cut down for development, so, by planting indigenous trees, Sultan Palace Development is trying to replace some of the flora and fauna that has been lost,” says Mr Tiancai.
“The garden will create a microclimate that will contribute positively to the environment in general. The trees and shrubs will act as protection against any future incursion from the ocean such as strong winds and floods. On the seafront, we will use a selection of palms trees and shrubs that are hardy enough to tolerate the salt-laden winds and the harsh oceanfront conditions. The growing of coconut and other indigenous and exotic trees along the coastal landscape is crucial, and also a long-term measure in stemming the devastation caused by global warming and climate change,” he adds
Trees and shrubs act as a shield against strong winds that characterise the Kenyan coast and also absorb solar radiation much better than buildings. Shade trees can significantly reduce air temperatures indoors during the hot season as they intercept and soak up the sun’s heat while transpiring cooling moisture into the air, adds Mr Tiancai.
Landscaping using natural coral boulders and rocks will be used to create rock gardens will also help in getting maximum returns from the investment, while at the same time minimising the negative effects on the environment.
“It is important to note that a well-manicured property with an appealing landscape is often a selling point.
Often, people tend to focus more on the inside, but it is critical to note that first impressions, even from the outside, matter. Research has shown that complementary landscaping provides the highest return on investment on any type of home improvement,” says Mr Tiancai.
To ensure that the plants thrive in the salty and humid environment at the coast, landscape consultants have selected those proven to be to withstand the local conditions.
Work on the garden began earlier this month, with a nursery already established and plants bought.
Daily maintenance will also be undertaken to ensure that the gardens flourish.
“We have trained garden maintenance personnel to look after the plants and also invested in recycling grey water to be used in the gardens to avoid water wastage, says Mr Tiancai.
Some of the rare flora to be planted are the bamba kofi and mpingo, also known as African black wood, and which are under threat because of over harvesting, despite a ban on the two.
The indigenous trees and shrubs to be planted include the hardly millettia usamarensis, with its beautiful sprays of purple flowers, baobabs, and a variety of scented shrubs.
Other exotic plants that will be planted to create a tropical feel include various varieties of the coconut palm and numerous other exotic palm trees, such as the golden cane or butterfly palm tree and travellers palm tree.