Not the Same in Rwanda

Having just spent ten days with the  TechWomen delegation in the lovely if tiny country of Rwanda, I am still thinking through all that I have seen. As a gardener, Rwanda was disorienting. Many plants are almost same as in my home in the South San Francisco Bay Area in California but I kept seeing flowers that looked like those I knew but the plant leaves were wrong, or the color was wrong but the shape was right, or the plant was much bigger than I have seen before. The animals were also different: I am used to watching the Western Lowland Gorilla family of the San Francisco Zoo, different from the Mountain Gorillas we saw in Rwanda.

For example, the common thistle is purple here in California but orange in Rwanda:

California Thistle . Rwanda Thistle
IMG_1682 . P1120864

Rwanda boasts the largest poinsettias I have ever seen – at home these plants come in small pots as Christmas table decorations:

P1130325

Fuchsias in California are delicate garden focal points – but in Rwanda, they are used as hedges:

P1140948

Of course, many flora and fauna were exactly what we have at home (eucalyptus trees, bougainvillea vines, nettles, roses, cats, dogs, chickens, goats, etc.). And then there are plants in Rwanda that are so different, I am not even sure what they are:

P1140322

Images Copyright 2014 by Katy Dickinson

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