IT’S BEEN a little over ten years in the making – the garden at Hybay, Brittons Hill, St Michael.
And for owner Jerry Ishmael, the work on his pride and joy was still ongoing even as his garden made its debut in the Barbados Horticultural Society’s open garden programme last Sunday.
As he led EASY magazine on a tour of the property, Ishmael frequently stopped to pluck off a dry leaf here, nip off a fading flower there and lovingly touch a rose that was in the process of blooming.
The horticultural gem began as a garden about 12 years ago, in the home in which Ishmael was raised, “because I wanted to put something in”.
But the former chief executive officer of what was then called Sherbourne Conference Centre took himself and his garden in hand about ten years.
“I had time now and I was watching some television shows about nice gardens and I got involved in the garden. My wife is from Dominica and she loves plants so both of us put our efforts together and produced this,” he explained, adding he considers his spread “a small garden”.
There was also another reason for the palm-shaded avenue that lines the drive from the Brittons Hill Post Office to his gate: “We had an area here that was basically bush and trees and you had to clear it twice a year,” he said.
“So, rather than spending $1 200 a year to clear it, I cleared it once and I brought in heliconia and stuff and planted it, because I love flowers.
“And then that started it and we started to landscape from the tennis club all the way up the driveway.”
His love of flowers is evident.
The colours of ten different varieties of heliconia peek from among the verdant foliage of the driveway before giving way to the bright yellow of marigolds, the pink of petunias and the spectrum of zinnias.
Further up the drive the blushing pink and deep red flowers of bougainvillea provide a foil to the deep earthy tones of the thickly foliaged curtain of crotons.
Palms, it appears, are also a favourite.
He has about ten different varieties – from the foxtail and fishtail palm; to the Christmas palm, the fan palm and the golden palm.
“I like plants in their natural habitat. It’s almost like a miniature forest. I don’t like a garden that is meticulous and landscaped,” he said.
However, Ishmael is not one to get lost in his garden during the week. After all, he still has a business to run, and the gym and church to attend. But weekends are different: “I usually spend all day on Saturday,” he said.