Horizon at Sandy Point

Friday, May 2, 2014

Dry season gardens

It's the heat of the dry season. The humidity is so low that potted plants on the porch shrivel before your eyes. Water, water, water, they gasp. Only the biggest trees are still green on their tops. And you imagine - and hope - that their roots are able to tap the liquid life that we sense lies deep underground.

Every morning, I wake to sunlight filtering through this cassia grandis
Everywhere on this island, life clings to the hope of rain, perhaps at full moon as is usual when the dry season is driest. We expect that the turning days will bring that break in the weather, even as we know that dark clouds overhead in May do not portend rain.

If you are a prudent gardener, now is the time to cut away the dry branches; compost the dead leaves; trim the trees and remove the overgrowth.

Dry season gardens are still delightful for walking. You'll find spectacular displays of all the trees that flower at this time. Not just poui, yellow or pink. But blue petrea. Cassia, gold and pink. Pomerac, Mango. And the shy forest trees now breaking out exuberant sprays of tiny orchid-like flowers. Bougainvillea. 

Take a walk in the dry season woods. You'll see silk cotton puffs wafting in the breeze. And might even find fruit. Take pity on the birds: put out a tub of water where they can bathe and splash.

Our walk today takes us through Bunty O'Connor's Ajoupa Gardens. Cracks and fissures have appeared in the dry earth. Fires have burned away precious palms on their boundaries. But the flowering is effusive, burgeoning. Life will find a way.

Vanilla flowers: one was carefully hand-pollinated by a botanist.

Rory and Bunty point the way.

These sun ripe cashes were the sweetest, juiciest. Chickland must be the cashew capital.

And mamey apple too.

Deep pink poui in the background.

A cloud of Chaconia blooms.

Pommerac flowers along the trunk and all the branches.

Orchid with gorgeous scent

Green and healthy monstera deliciosa seems to always have a source of water

Heliconias with complex bracts like straps woven from leather

Gri-gri palm

Beautiful colour in these feature plants

Bunty imploring this fire-damaged palm to hold on for the rains!

Talking to the tree!

The rains will be here by June.

1 comment:

  1. It is so wonderful to see that you have taken the time to herald the beauty inherent in the dry season. This time of year has its special attractions.....the Flaming Immortelles and brilliant Yellow Poui, delicate Pink Poui, Showers of Gold and Apple Blossom Cassia are the blessings we in Trinidad receive before the rains come!