Botanical Gardens in Barbados
As guests of Visit Barbados, we had a long list of things to see and do beyond the grounds of our hotel. We saw nearly a million gardens (it certainly felt like it!) and each one had a personality of it's own...
Of the many places on our Barbados itinerary, Hunte's Garden was somewhere that we were really looking forward to seeing. Described as a 'tropical oasis built into a gully' in the hilly parish of St Joseph's, the garden came with a sterling reputation and had been recommended to us by just about everyone that we'd spoken to, so it had a lot to live up to.
A steep bank of steps led us down into the garden, with packed planting of different colours and textures lining the path at each side, we wound around corners of Calladium and past sky-high palms. Fiery red Crotons and Lobster-like Heliconias popped brightly amongst the green foliage and made our eyes go funny. Add to that a surreal soundtrack of classical piano music drifting through the leaves and we wondered what kind of film set we'd managed to step into. Landscaped by owner Anthony Hunte in the late 1990's, the garden is a portal into the mind of a keen horticulturalist with a skill for engineering an other-worldly experience. We moved from secluded nooks to open clearings and back again, completely oblivious to anybody else that might have been visiting at the same time and free to explore whatever was around the next corner.
As we visited Andromeda Gardens at almost noon (aka the hottest point in the day) it will come as no surprise that we found ourselves edging towards the shaded areas within it's 6 acre grounds. By far the most sheltered spot that we found was under the cascading aerial roots of the huge Bearded Fig tree that had become well and truly intertwined with the coral base that the island is formed of.
Andromeda Gardens comes steeped with local and horticultural history as it's founder Iris Bannochie travelled far and wide to collect the botanic elements for her plot; we saw Ginger lilies, Hibiscus and the ever-beguiling Jade vine. Iris Banocchie was a founding member of the Barbados National Trust, who are now responsible for the garden at Andromeda.
Our favourite aspect of the gardens at Orchid World was perhaps the part that is ancillary to it's main focal point; we were more interested in the tropical jungle-esque surroundings and countryside views than the orchids themselves. Forgive our honesty, but you should know by now that flowers (or at least they do in most cases) come second to foliage in our eyes. We enjoyed the gentle motion of the waterfall a refreshing sight in the sticky heat and saw hummingbirds flicker their wings.
This place was perfect. Lush foliage of all shapes and sizes, greens came in an abundance of tones and all delivered on steady winding downhill paths. The only thing that brought our experience of Flower Forest down a notch was that we didn't spend long enough there at all. Which is every reason for us to go back right?
Our trip to Barbados was supported by Visit Barbados.