Real Gardens

The book that launched a vacation


As soon as I saw the cover of this book, I knew where we had to go for our annual winter break. Such a thing is necessary when you live in Western New York—at least I find it so. Nothing says you’re really away from it all like a radical shift 60 degrees upward. A few days is enough.

But the normal hot spots palled. We were on a cruise last year—a gift— and I didn’t find what I needed. Too much boat.  Mexico wouldn’t work for various reasons, and none of the other islands seemed to click. Then this book hit my desk. I had been thinking beaches, not gardens, but here were the kind of gardens into which you plunge rather than walk. And most of them are in Barbados. Which also happens to be the home of rum.


Exotic Gardens of the Eastern Caribbean (Margaret Gajek, writer, and Derek Galon, photographer, Ozone, 2010) includes many private gardens as well as various official botanic gardens and such well-known attractions as the Andromeda and Orchid gardens, and Welchman’s Gully (top), a National Trust site. There is also an open garden program and of course, Barbados sends its best to Chelsea every year.

Paradoxically, in spite of the “exoticism” of it all, many of the plants are so familiar. Some are year-round residents of my home or office; others I see at the florists regularly. But not like this.

I’ll tell you if the gardens lived up to the photographs.

Posted by on January 11, 2011 at 5:00 am, in the category Real Gardens.
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8 responses to “The book that launched a vacation”

  1. michelle says:

    Beautiful! Have fun!!!

  2. lifeshighway says:

    so envious, as I peer out my office window and watch the freezing rain. Have loads of fun. Send pictures!

  3. naomi says:

    Ever since I read about the forest in Tobago, made a protected area in 1776, I’ve wanted to go there. However, Barbados – I’d happily accept that too. Looking forward to your report.

  4. Laura Bell says:

    Oh ! Gorgeous plants, beaches & rum – is there another way to vacation ? Now I have the “get thee to the tropics” bug, and we’re not nearly as cold here as ya’ll are there. I think you’ll be amazed, though, at how different the familiar plants look in a more natural setting. You may even find yourself coming back and giving your plants a lecture about what they could really do if they just tried !

    Have fun

  5. Li'l Ned says:

    Must …… visit ……… Barbados ………….. now to locate it on a map. I’ve never had the slightest urge in my entire life to visit any tropical place whatsoever, not Hawaii, not Bali …….. but these photos have stopped me in my pooh-poohing tracks. Aiiiiieeeeeeeee!

  6. Bet you’d like Nicole’s A Caribbean Garden blog:

  7. That familiarity with the plants, some observed in her/his office is what I avoid in my collection.

    What is the point of keeping common place plants when one could/do set trends?

  8. Jennifer says:

    Looks quite enticing. I’ve added it to my short list of island destinations. A good friend of mine just moved to Marigot, Dominica and the photos are similarly exquisite. Please report back on the trip.