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HEATHER-LYNN’S HABITAT: Flowers pique interest

Heather-Lynn Evanson, [email protected]

HEATHER-LYNN’S HABITAT: Flowers pique interest

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SCORE TWO for the Barbados Horticultural Society (BHS).

Not only has the society managed to score two new gardens for this year’s Open Garden Programme, but interest is high among British tour operators as the BHS affiliate association the Barbados Association of Flower Arrangers, gets ready to stage the 12th World Flower Show in June 2017.

Horticultural Society president Orson Daisley said the society was building on last year’s high interest and was hoping for a good year this year.

Apart from perennial favourite gardens, the society has added two new gardens to the itinerary – those of Jerry Ishmael at Brittons Hill, St Michael, and Jennifer Mumford at Lower Greys, Christ Church.

“The fact that we’re able to attract new gardens this year means a lot to us because this year has been particularly dry as far as the rain is concerned,” Daisley noted.

“The rain has been very on and off but the last few days it has come back so things are looking a bit greener. But we suffer a lot because people drop out after saying ‘yes’. They say ‘no’ because the gardens don’t look good and they don’t like to put their garden on show unless it looks really good,” he explained.

But Daisley said the Society was hoping to attract even more gardens and their enthusiastic owners next year to coincide with Barbados Association of Flower Arrangers’ international event.

“We have been in contact with quite a few people and we have had tour operators [express an interest] and they want to bring people here to do similar things on gardening.

“The show for the flower arrangers is in June, but our garden programme finishes in March but we’re hoping to extend it so we can get some gardens,” he added, noting that the garden of Keith Simmons, at Gibbs Hill, St Peter, would definitely be on show when big tours from England bring admiring visitors.

Daisley added visitors were fascinated by local blooms and other Caribbean plants as they were different to those growing in the colder climates.

And the interest was also growing among local homeowners as well, especially in the rainy season.

“When it rains you get more interest. Just the cement doesn’t satisfy them anymore. People like to see green grass and flowers and foliage,” he said.

But Daisley advised those who were looking to create their gardens to seek out drought tolerant plants, especially as the island grappled with low rainfall.

“Ask questions about drought tolerant plants. I live in St Philip and we suffer even when there is good rain, so when you go to a plant nursery ask for plants that don’t take a lot of water or as much water as the normal plant and you could plant and survive. They take some water but not as much. Succulents and plants like that that can withstand four or five days or a week or two without any rain.”

He said that while drought tolerant plants might grow slower than water hungry plants “and they might not necessarily flower flamboyantly”, a gardening enthusiast could still derive much pleasure from them.