Milkshakes in Malawi.

Steam rises from the damp soil  as the nurseryman hoses down the careful rows of potted plants. At 10am the heat is already intense and I keep close to the shade of the walls as we descend the steps to the coffee shop. Ahead the sound of a fountain and the welcoming arms of a spreading acacia tree. This is the Four Seasons garden centre in Lilongwe , and we’ve missed breakfast, so two vanilla milkshakes are quickly ordered.

There are several small gift and clothes shops, readying themselves for the day, as well as a restaurant or two.

Gourds for sale

Gourds for sale

But of course it’s the plants I want to see – lots of exotic looking ones, which I remember from my days of living in South Africa, as well as the familiar roses, which grow very well here, and a fine assortment of terracotta pots. It seems very like a garden centre I might see back home, regimented rows of foliage plants and appealing blocks of flowering ones, geraniums, nemesia and marigolds for “instant colour”.

Of course, I love the strelitzias and the striking heliconias – if I was living in Lilongwe I’d go for lots of these flowers and exotic foliage … and yet, I remember how much I longed to grow lupins when I was living in Johannesburg.




The lush foliage of the landscaped gardens surround the coffee shop. Last time I was here, we relaxed to the Chameleon Bar’s  Sunday lunchtime jazz session in these lovely grounds.

The beautifully landscaped pond

The beautifully landscaped pond

The sound of water is always welcome in a hot climate, as is a shady bench, especially one as nostalgic as this one.

Four Seasons lilongwe

A last morning in Malawi. So it was back to the coffee shop and the milkshakes, and a fond farewell to my son who remains in Africa. We walked around the fountain once more before the reluctant journey to the airport.

The fountain at the Four Seasons.

11 thoughts on “Milkshakes in Malawi.

    • Thank you, I really appreciate your comment.
      I was sitting at my desk this morning,on a cold blustery day in Dublin,and reminiscing about my recent visit to Malawi… and it’s always good to know that someone else liked what I wrote.
      Best wishes, Lorna


  1. It’s been great to read all of your posts from S Africa, and it’s especially wonderful to see our common house and garden plants in their natural setting. It looks like such a spectacular country!


    • Thanks Matt, lovely feedback. South Africa is without doubt the most beautiful country, with spectacular flora, and, as you say, great to see “our” garden(or house) plants in their native setting.
      Malawi is in much poorer shape, with rainfall – if it comes – for only a couple of months a year. The garden centre was a little oasis with a lot of irrigation I expect.


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