Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day Massacre

Tomas destruction Oct 30 2010 Hot Pools

Planted new Dec 23 2010
Christmas Day mess

Tomas aftermath October 30 2010 Waterfall area
Fern Delivery from collecting on roadside
Native Tree Ferns and Banana Planted Dec 20 2010

Christmas Day aftermath

All planted and starting to grow. New paths rebuilt , garden beds amended . UNTIL yesterday (Dec 24th) afternoons rains made the waterfall and stream a raging torrent not unlike the hurricane of Oct 30th. All the new plantings and beds/paths were ground up and spit out down stream. So disheartening. With all other garden staff off on holiday , Bruce , the manager and myself assessed the damage christmas morning. We closed washed out paths , cleaned off walkways and hotspring pools for todays visitors to the gardens. One of the new garden beds actually sank 3 feet from being eroded underneath by storm waters. I had to remove all the plant material carefully in this unstable situation. A busy morning, now time to have lunch and relax for the day,,,,,a busy week ahead..............The new plan is to build a wall along the stream edge from the waterfall down the length of the garden. This will hopefully keep storm surges in the river and not overflowing into the garden.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Tale of Tomas

A SERIES OF BEFORE DURING AND AFTER.....this is of Diamond Waterfall A major tourist attraction on the island of St Lucia and the star of the show in the Botanical Garden.....As you see its taken a beating with the October 30 2010 hurricane. More pics to follow.....Ive just heard that we have more damage in this area after last nights rains.......

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tropical Treats

Calliandra haematocephala

A tropical reminder outside my door of the Albizia I used to grow in my Toronto garden. It is a buzz of birds all day especially hummingbirds.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Return Engagement

I have returned to St Lucia this week, after leaving toronto on a cold -13C morning. 5 hours later transported to 30C. The heat and humidity are so welcomed and to see familiar places and faces. I have returned to help out with rebuilding and replanting at the Diamond Botanical Garden following Hurricane Tomas Oct 30th. It was a very destructive storm moving slowly at 8mph with 110 mph winds dropping 2YEARS!!!! of rain in 24 hours. Which resulted in catastrophic landslides and flooding the majority of the damage was in the Soufriere region of the island. I was amazed in 5 weeks how much work has been accomplished to clear roads and terrace the new landslide slopes. The gardeners of the botanical garden have worked tirelessly to bring the gardens back for the important tourist season. The majority of the garden was impassable from fallen trees and mudflows. The waterfall area was hardest hit due to the massive amount of water , with an entire hillside along the stream giving way to fill in the watercourse rerouting all the water to the garden walkways. The stream is all dug out and new paths built. Now its time for planting and making things lush and green again. So much open sky now and bare earth. We will be keeping the waterfall area in its natural "green " state using ferns and climbers. but further downstream we will incorporate a riot of colours in a gradated colour scheme to mimic the patterns of colour present on the walls of the waterfall stained from the mineral deposits of the volcanic waters. This will be a fun task for the next few months before my return back to Toronto for spring. More to follow inthe coming weeks,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bullet Proof

Im always amazed at plants that can persevere through the harshest of conditions. Hellebore is just such a plant once established its comfortable in dry shade and minimal care. This species is the first to bloom or would that be the last to bloom for the season??? Praecox is a chance seed strain that blooms extra early and this variety has its flowers presented well above the leathery green foliage. A show at the close of fall , beginning of winter. This is a plant in Barrys garden