Horticulture: Winsome Scenery, Rewarding

Kilmallock-Horticulture-Tunnel-2It’s Very Lucrative, But Involves Hard Work 

MANY people love beautiful scenery; they desire appealing environment adorned with trees, shrubs and flowers, but lack the wherewithal to do it.

Some have made several attempts to plant flowers to enable them make their environment look good, but end up watching the flowers wither, as the day go by.

Handling flowers has its’ own skills and must be learnt and applied to keep a beautiful garden and maintain winsome surroundings.

Apart from the aesthetics these plants create, they could serve as food and impact positively on the psyche of the keepers. Horticulturists are leveraging on the fact that many people do not know how to maintain beautiful gardens.

Horticulturists make good money, some even go from one private home to the other or visit different cities to tend to gardens, plant flowers or use them to beautify buildings and roads.

According to Sunday Akpan, the business is good and huge, especially for those located in highbrow areas, where flowers are well appreciated and the people appreciate gardens. “I move about maintaining gardens and make at least N5,000 a day from the sales of seedlings and propagated plants in my nursery, each time I am not in a location.

If I add up the money I make from the various maintenance and planting jobs I do, I would be going home with N100,000 to N150,000 a month.

Horticulture business is good and affords one the privilege of travelling to different parts of the city and meeting different people. “The business entails learning about different flowers and the conditions that would make them grow well and, also the right fertiliser to apply to enable them survive in harsh terrains,” he said.

For Olalekan, it is good to start small with a garden and from there be connected for maintenance jobs, which according to him is more lucrative for young people because it involves travelling from one place to the other. “As a beginner, one has to locate his/her garden in an area with good supply of water for the flowers and also to attract people.

You have to use the right fertiliser and create space for the flowers, because they can’t survive in a tight place. They need space for air; in fact, many flowers die young because the soil is too harsh, not well fertilised for them to grow,” he said.

With these conditions, a new entrant must have a huge capital to go into it, but Olalekan said no. “It is not a business one could start with a huge capital. With N50,000 to N80,000 to buy the necessary tools like hand trowel, pruning shear, pitchforks, shovels and others, you can start off; so far you have got a location and know how to get your sawdust and manure.

The business is very lucrative, but you must work; it involves a lot of hard work,” he revealed. Apart from keeping gardens, Tunji Adebode makes more money maintaining gardens and tending flowers.

He disclosed that flowers do well when they are well catered for. “I have my gardens, but I go out to maintain private gardens for individuals and corporate organisations. I charge between N10,000 and N15,000 to maintain a plot of land with flowers and if mowing the grasses is included the fees would sometimes increase to N17,000.

Flowers need space to breed, so, they have to be pruned every two or three weeks. They die easily under harsh weather, but grow well during the rains; so we advise twice a month pruning during wet season and once a month during dry season, followed with adequate watering “I have 10 clients, whose gardens I handle in Lagos and five in Abeokuta.

The business is like farming, very lucrative and no individual can do it alone. The over seven hands I have are not enough to handle the rounds, so I am almost always involved,” he said.

On what his take home is, he disclosed that weather plays important role on the plants and his take home. “I make more money during wet season than dry season.

During wet seasons the grasses and flowers grow faster and attract mosquitoes and other insects, which may be irritating and harmful to man; so, we are always on call.

At this time, I engage more hands and pay between N5,000 and N7,000 for job that does not last for four hours. The good thing is that after paying the auxiliary hands, I still go home with about N150,000 in a month.

Mind you, this does not include the sales I make in my nursery. “Though, many Nigerians do not appreciate flowers like the whites, the country still remain a good place to do business.

I sometime go as far as Akure to maintain gardens and on such a long trip I charge between N150,000 to N250,000 depending on the individual and N250,000 to N1million for corporate organisations,”he said. Advising new entrants to be mindful of challenges like transportation and fund to acquire or rent a piece of land for the business, Babajide said if flowers are not properly conveyed to where they are needed, they might wither and become a great loss for the gardener.

You need to carry them in lorries with the right room temperature, if you do not want them to wither or die. “Transporting flowers from one garden to another is a big challenge, which any new entrant must try to overcome.

Not every vehicle can carry flowers; you must know those flowers that could stand heat when being moved and those that are fragile. Learn how to preserve the soft ones, make them retain their moist, so that they could remain healthy for long distances like Lagos to Kano or even Ilorin.

Being ignorant of this may mean all the flowers dying on the way before they get to the place where they are needed. “Anyone going into the business should be prepared to face some of these challenges because the business is not a get-rich-quick venture.

It has it ups and downs and the way you manage each situation could determine what you make within a short time. For new entrants to excel in this business, knowledge, patience, dedication and hard work are key,” he disclosed. Are flowers really useful to man to deserve all the attention? Bode, said: “Yes, people plant flowers for different reasons. Flowers offer more to man that the mere beauty they add to our environments.

They are known for removing carbon dioxide and toxins in the air and giving us oxygen. “Outside this, they carry enormous symbolism, provide soothing sympathy and are integral part of many ceremonies for most people. Understand that flowers such as lemon, gardenia, coriander, garlic chives and marjoram are used to spice food.

Though some could trigger allergies, we cannot deny the fact that they have therapeutic effects on man. At funerals, they depict peace and beauty. And play important role in weddings,” he said.

Stressing the need to have flowers around our homes, Bode disclosed that flowers could help reduce stress and alleviate anxiety. “The hibiscus sabdariffa (Roselle) commonly found in West Africa serves as an effective laxative. It is said to contain high doses of ascorbic acid and glycolic acid.

I make more money during wet season than dry season. During wet seasons the grasses and flowers grow faster and attract mosquitoes and other insects, which may be irritating and harmful to man; so, we are always on call. At this time, I engage more hands and pay between N5,000 and N7,000 for job that does not last for four hours. The good thing is that after paying the auxiliary hands, I still go home with about N150,000 in a month

It can also be used to fight inflammation and water retention in the body. Both the flowers and the leaves can be used as tea or made into paste to increase blood flow in the skin. In fact, flowers provide soothing effect on the senses; they are spiritual and could wand away evil spirits,” he noted.

For Lanre Abe, who has been in the horticulture business for over 19 years, planting and maintaining flowers has given him all he needs in life. “I make N40,000 per week pruning flowers, mowing grasses and fumigating trees to prevent reptiles, mosquitoes and other insects from disturbing garden owners.

Apart from the maintenance, I sometimes make wreath, which goes from N15,000 to N40,000 depending on the time of the day I am contacted and who needs it. I pay my bills through this business,” he disclosed.

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