Egypt is not a green country, most of the land is stark desert and only on a small strip around the Nile and in the Delta can lush greenery be found. To counteract this, more and more people are livening up their homes and balconies with plants and those who live outside the cities create little havens of greenery and flowers in their gardens. Family run Khadra is one of the places where you can find a large variety of home grown plants, shrubs and trees.
Khadra’s owner, Heba Yassin, started gardening later in life. “I moved out of the city to Mansoureia and because I had a large garden I started to learn how to plant and found out I loved it,” she said. “Over the years I learned more and sometimes helped out my friends with their gardens. I never planned for this to become a business but as I got better at it my daughters convinced me to start doing it professionally. It really is a combination of retirement and hobby that became a job.”
The set up of Khadra is different in that they do not have a shop where they sell their plants. “I have a big garden and green house where we grow our plants, herbs, trees and shrubs,” Yassin said. “We organise events here every two to three months where people can come and see what we have on offer. Other than that I take pictures of our plants and post them on Facebook and people contact us to order. We deliver directly to their homes so there is no need for a shop.”
Besides Yassin, five gardeners work in Khadra. “I love growing things but I am not interested in the business side of things which is why my daughter joined me, she handles that,” Yassin said. “I do the Facebook page and I take the pictures I post myself. They are not professional, sometimes you see my dogs in the background, but I think people are a bit fed up with things being too perfect. The fact the images are not perfect makes it obvious that these really are the plants we have.”
Khadra does more than just sell plants for gardens, homes and balconies. “We do landscaping for gardens and have been commissioned by several restaurants to design the plants for their interiors. Sometimes an architect will give us a colour scheme or we make a design of what we feel fits the place,” Yassin said.
The pots Khadra offers are varied; they range from ceramic to wooden barrels and metal buckets, and come in a large spectrum of colours. “I like combining the colours of flowers with the colours of the pots, yet I could not always find the exact shade I wanted. We have a machine that is used to paint cars and create the exact colours we want,” Yassin explained.
All plants come with a card that explains if they need sun or shade and how often they have to be watered, “to make sure people will be able to enjoy their plants for a long time,” said Yassin.
One of Khadra’s bestsellers is a large pot that combines six different fresh herbs that can easily grow on a balcony. “More and more people like to grow their own food, and we offer a variety of plants, from fresh herbs to citrus trees that work on balconies as well as in gardens,” Yassin said.