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Eastern Caribbean Exotic Gardens Photo Essay.
Barbados, St Vincent, Grenada and St Lucia: Caribbean botanical gardens photos.
Benthams House Water Gardens, Barbados: Caribbean gardens photos.
Benthams House Water Gardens, Barbados: Owner Helen Knighton was attracted to land with a sunken hollow of collapsed underground coral. It seemed to invite Helen and her husband, Charles, to create a beautiful lily pond and start them off on their passion for collecting and growing water lilies in many ponds. Today, they are renowned growers and suppliers of water lilies.

Photography by Derek Galon Text by Margaret Gajek

"A garden is a living entity, which has to be frequently rejuvenated. If you don't help it to evolve and keep it young, it gets abandoned, loses its soul, and ultimately disappears." Timothy Vaughan (Montreal Gardens, St Vincent)

Caribbean people love their gardens. Even the smallest cottage or chattel house usually has at least some beautiful sumptuous shrubs, or profusely blooming trees, or colorful resplendent ornamentals. The locals are also eminently skilful growers of a variety of crops on which they rely for food and as a source of income to provide their families a livelihood.
In addition, there are large complex botanical gardens, which do scientific research and conservation programs, and, impressive collectors' gardens, full of unusual and rare plants. Since many of these gardens are open to the public, visiting gardens has become a popular pastime for locals and visitors alike. There are only a few places in the world where you can see such a stunning variety of exotic plants, displayed in so many creative ways, against a background of such magnificent scenery and accompanied by such genuine, unaffected friendliness of the local people.
Hunte's Gardens, Barbados: Caribbean gardens photos.
Hunte's Gardens, Barbados: The first thing that greets guests at the entrance to this 10-acre property is the sound of distant chords of classical music, like an overture to the whole garden experience. Horticultural virtuoso and accomplished gardening expert, Anthony Hunte, has created a series of outdoor tableaux, with ensconced seats, like box-seats in an opera house, providing vantage points to view and enjoy the garden.
The seven different gardens featured in this article and the 26 gardens featured in our book (see information below) are living works of art, created by individuals with a deep love for growing things, working with real passion and dedication, though on very different budgets, and displaying a whole range of different personal tastes. Their artistic creations have a lasting effect on the visitors, the keepers, and the creators themselves.
The Botanic Gardens, St Vincent: Caribbean botanical gardens photos.
The Botanic Gardens, St Vincent: In 1793 Captain Bligh (of Mutiny on the Bounty fame) brought 331 Breadfruit plants to this garden following his second sailing trip to Tahiti as an alternative food source for the slaves. They are part of a diverse 20-acre garden that has been crucial in introducing, growing and distributing plants for their economic value and as a food source for the islands.
Bay Gardens, Grenada: Eastern Caribbean Exotic Gardens Photo Essay.
Bay Gardens, Grenada: Bay Gardens is one of those places that perfectly fits the description of a tropical paradise: dense woodland-like planting where dazzling blooms intermingle with every shape and color of foliage, where a gentle breeze brings intoxicating plant perfumes and the air is filled with enchanting trills of tropical birds.

Exotic Gardens of the Eastern Caribbean
Exotic Gardens of the Eastern Caribbean, book by Margaret Gajek and Derek Galon. Photography by Derek D. Galon; Text by Margaret M. Gajek
Ozone Zone Books, 2010, ISBN 978-0-9813279-1-4
Full color, large format, 288 pages.
Includes a one-hour audio CD of Caribbean nature sounds, typically heard in a Caribbean garden during the day, evening and night. A great way to enhance your experience while browsing through this book!
For more information about the book, visit www.ozonezonebooks.com, or purchase online at Amazon.

Author Margaret Gajek was a student of art history and an architectural and landscape writer/lecturer, widely traveled in Europe, the Middle East and Asia before moving to Canada. "When Derek and I visited the Caribbean region for the first time, we were amazed by the tremendous variety of architectural and landscape/garden styles, and the colorful mix of so many different people from around the world who have come to live there," she comments. "We thought this beautiful region deserved to be better documented than it has so we produced one award-winning book on Tropical Homes of the Eastern Caribbean (January 2010) and Exotic Gardens of the Eastern Caribbean (September 2010)."

Photographer Derek Galon studied music and photography in his homeland of Poland before moving to Canada where he expanded his professional interests to include multimedia and graphic design. Exotic Gardens of the Eastern Caribbean demonstrates his eye for detail and an artistic feel for the moment. "There are too many beautiful places in the Caribbean to fit them all into a single book," he says. "Therefore we decided to select examples of diverse gardens in the region. While Margaret selected gardens with their design characteristics in mind, I tried to decide which ones would create the most beautiful and interesting photography. I believe we have achieved a good balance."

Frizers Garden, Barbados: Eastern Caribbean gardens books.
Frizers Garden, Barbados: The charm of this five-acre garden in a remote part of the island results from retaining old trees and already established vegetation, and incorporating the new into the old. This enormous Ficus benjamina tree is only 30 years old, with roots spreading like the tentacles of a giant octopus and trunks that bring to mind modern art sculptures.
Hunte's Gardens, Barbados: Eastern Caribbean gardens books.
Hunte's Gardens, Barbados: The first thing that greets guests at the entrance to this 10-acre property is the sound of distant chords of classical music, like an overture to the whole garden experience. Horticultural virtuoso and accomplished gardening expert, Anthony Hunte, has created a series of outdoor tableaux, with ensconced seats, like box-seats in an opera house, providing vantage points to view and enjoy the garden.
Diamond Botanical Gardens, St Lucia: Caribbean gardens photos.
Diamond Botanical Gardens, St Lucia: Deep in the interior of the garden, towering trees cast long shadows on a profusion of undergrowth nourished by the volcanic lava soil. The wide garden path is dwarfed by magnificent trunks of surrounding trees and palms. It took owner Joan du Boulay Devaux six years of designing and planting to transform this six-acre garden into the major public attraction it is today.
Andromeda Gardens, Barbados: Eastern Caribbean Exotic Gardens Photo Essay.
Andromeda Gardens, Barbados: Created by distinguished botanist and plant explorer and collector, Iris Bannochie, this six-acre garden clings to a steep coral stone hillside overlooking Barbados' rugged Atlantic coast. Walking down the hill past huge coral boulders, there is a great diversity of trees, shrubs and tasty fruits. Bequeathing Andromeda to the Barbados National Trust upon her death, she said, "It is my earnest desire that these gardens should survive to give pleasure to those who walk and work with them."

Follow Up Facts
For gardens open to the public in Barbados, visit the Barbados Horticultural Society website, www.horticulturebarbados.com or tourism-oriented web sites like www.barbados.org.

For gardens open to the public in Grenada, visit www.users.dialstart.net/~gaywood/TNs/page_08.htm.
For additional Grenada garden information, visit the tourism website, www.grenadagrenadines.com.

For gardens open to the public in St Vincent, visit http://discoversvg.com/index.php/en/whattodo/eco-adventures/tropicalgardens. Also see the tourism website for St Vincent & the Grenadines (32 islands), http://discoversvg.com/index.php/en.

St Lucia Tourism website, www.stlucianow.com.



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