CARICOM Garden On The Cards

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Minister of Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe (left) did not miss out on the opportunity to help Rotary Past President, John Cabral and Rotary President, Brenda Pope plant one of the trees in the Arboretum. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Plans to establish a CARICOM Garden in the National Botanical Gardens are on the cards for Barbados.

Minister of the Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe, made this assertion during the unveiling of the Rotary Club of Barbados’, Aboretum at the National Botanical Gardens at Waterford, St. Michael, last Friday.

"We intend to erect a CARICOM Garden that would reflect on the specificities of Caribbean plants, as those plants define the culture and character of the Caribbean, and I look forward to that," he said.

Making reference to the more than 250-acre plot being transformed into a garden, Dr. Lowe emphasised that the National Botanical Garden was a space everyone could see and enjoy, and it was important to "deposit a legacy that can be lived in several generations to come".

In explaining the plans for the CARICOM Garden, Senior Technical Officer, at the National Conservation Commission, Nigel Jones, said it was the intention to create a chain to represent Caribbean countries.

He added that efforts were being made to have the Bearded Fig Tree listed as Barbados’ national tree, as the country was only represented by its national flower, the Pride of Barbados (Dwarf Poinciana or Flower Fence).

However, the garden is also expected to be home to the Breadfruit tree, the national tree of St. Vincent; the Nutmeg tree from Grenada; the Pink Poui of Trinidad and Tobago; the Calabash from St. Lucia; the Whitewood of Antigua and Barbuda; the Flamboyant tree, or Flame Tree, of St. Kitts and Nevis; the Blue Mahoe from Jamaica; and the Roystonea, or Royal Palm, from Cuba.

Mr. Jones said neither the French colonies of Martinique, Guadeloupe, the Dominican Republic, Montserrat or Haiti had national trees. He added that Dominica also did not have a national tree, but was often represented by the Coconut Palm.

During his address, the Senior Technical Officer noted that a strong maintenance programme would be a key feature of the garden to maintain and protect the trees from pests, disease, theft, livestock damage and vandalism.

He stressed that there were plans to establish fertilisation, watering, irrigation, pest and disease control programmes as part of its continued maintenance.

Mr. Jones gave the assurance that the CARICOM Garden would continue to be developed over time with additional features being added on an ongoing basis.

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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