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.