Grenada – The Spice of the Caribbean
November 2-10th, 2005

November 6 – again this morning, I was up early and took a picture of what it looks like when raining outside my room…comes down heavy and fast and then it’s gone…warm rain. After breakfast our groups split into three again and off we set. Our garden group was off to the rain forest to visit some pretty special places. The first visit was to Saint Rose Nursery owned by John Criswick. John is shown here with a Croton named after him that he rightfully looks very proud of. It was a wonderful garden overflowing with plant material. I was thrilled to be able to get that little creature to pose for me on that ginger…now before I forget, I must tell you in case you were not aware of, that Grenada has a display at Chelsea…and in 2005 they won GOLD for the fifth year in a row for this display. Suzanne Gaywood, the team leader who lives in the UK came here while we were here so we not only got to meet her and the rest of the group that puts the display together, but also find ourselves at the very heart of the display – here – where plant material is chosen for the show. John is instrumental in helping Suzanne gather the precious plant material that will form the display as well as the other garden we visit today – Balthazar. It will mean so much more now visiting the display at Chelsea for me…knowing there will likely be someone there that I know and now can actually visualize them walking around the gardens, gathering the material for this very display. Suzanne is shown here with a stem of bamboo – she is so excited about the colour of it and no doubt it will find its way to England.

Then next door to Bon Accord Estate where we had the most incredible juice to quench our thirst. Owner Robert Branch said that 1999 marked the beginning of the development of the estate as a horti-agri-tourism project by he and his wife Velena. Some 20,000 anthurium lilies were initially planted at Bon Accord and the 111 acre estate is also a major producer of other tropical flowers such as heliconias and ginger lilies. In 2001 Bon Accord won a Gold Award at the Anglo Irish Bank Garden of Heaven Show in Dublin, Ireland, for its staged nursery display of the flowers and spices of Grenada. Special tours of the anthurium greenhouse and local lunches may be arranged by reservation.

We caught sight or our other group on their tubing adventure so I snuck in a picture of them before we arrived at the Balthazar Estate. Estate owner, Denis Noel OBE, was there to greet us and show us around…all the while cutting some of the most beautiful exotic tropical flowers along the way. This is a huge 396 acre estate and has become the foremost producer of exotic tropical flowers and herbs. A lot of the flowers for the Chelsea display come directly from here as well – I also have a picture for you to see the tables and boxes where they would normally be packed up before shipping. Today, Balthazar Estate (Noelville Ltd.) is the producer of Nut-Med Spray, Noni Juice, Lemon Grass Tea & Seasoning, Lignum vitae and Petite Bum teas in addition to the wide range of tropical blooms. Also at the Gardens, one can see the world renowned Noni Fruit, known for its health benefits. Home also to the Johnson Beharry, V.C Heliconia, named after one of the island’s honoured heroes of bravery.

From there we traveled to Helvellyn House for lunch, then we went back to our hotel to get ready for our wonderful evening planned that included meeting with members of the Horticultural Society of Grenada at the home of John and Faye Miller (whose garden we had seen earlier) plus Suzanne and her team and Dean Jules, who had recently written a book on Grenada’s Flora called I believe ‘Caribbean Spice Island Plants’. After wonderful food and drink we headed back to the hotel for an evening presentation on the Turtle Conservation programs in Grenada…then time for a much deserved cup and tea and to bed!





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