For the love of plants


FROM A TROPICAL garden to a tranquil acre with a spectacular view of the West Coast.
These were on offer as the Barbados Horticultural Society (BHS) showcased two nearby gardens in its Open Garden programme last Sunday afternoon.
On show were the Gibbes, St Peter neighbouring gardens of Charles Packer and Queen’s Counsel Keith Simmons and his wife Lucille.
Packer, the entrance to whose garden is guarded by identical Chinese busts and who has beautifully meshed towering tropical palms with the delicate blooms of orchids and the nodding leaves of varieties of anthuriums, said his garden covered about half an acre.
“We (he and his wife) really got down to it about ten years and I love collecting plants, so this is my hobby now,” he enthused.
They have been collecting exotic blooms from the world over and their garden has grown correspondingly. Their blooms and trees come from places as far flung as the Philippines.
“This is now where I come out on afternoon and release the pressure,” said the former cricketer, as he mused that some of his newer additions seemed to be taking longer to acclimatise.
A few steps away, Simmons, a former Minister of Jusstice, and his wife were proudly showing off their acre of flower and fruit tree gardens.
The brightly-coloured nodding flowers of begonias and periwinkles seemed to hold the variegated leaves of different varieties of caladiums as they danced rings around bright white pedestals or added contrast to the white backdrop of walls.
Also in Simmons’ garden, different varieties of blooming bougainvillea take pride of place, revelling in the dry conditions the plant seems to prefer.
There is a method to the way the blooms and fruit trees are arranged, with Lucille Simmons explaining placement depends on the conditions which the different plants prefer.
“Some like a lot of sunshine, some like a lot of water,” her husband further explained.
Meanwhile, coordinator of the BHS Open Garden programme, Shirley Anne Howell, said response to the various gardens had been very good.
“We are very pleased with the turnout at all the gardens we’ve had so far,” she said, adding that more Barbadians were taking a keen interest in horticulture. “They love to come and get ideas from other gardens.”


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