We are still in Martinique, having arrived here in St Ann on the southern side of the island yesterday. It’s a huge anchorage with something like 350 boats visiting and there’s still plenty of room for more. St. Ann is a resort area complete with long sandy beaches and nice places to eat out nearby. Very charming.
It’s also adjacent to the largest protected harbor in the Windward Islands, Le Marin. That’s good as we have decided to head home for a “grandaughter fix” for two weeks in late February. That will be fun as we haven’t seen Rob, Kandice and “not quite as little” Tori for way too long.
Anyway, here we are and it’s clear why this place is so popular. It’s going to be hard to leave. Besides, it has the best French bakery we’ve seen so far this season. Yum…
Back to the subject of this post. When we were in Fort de France, the capitol of Martinique, we decided to visit a botanical garden, a short bus ride from the city, Jardin de Balata. Interestingly, it is located on the property of the owner’s family home and while the family doesn’t live there any more, it is now operated as a for-profit enterprise. It’s beautifully done and unlike many of the gardens we have visited, this one is set up more like series of landscape paintings. It’s a little hard to explain but you really do feel like you are walking through a series of paintings and less like a garden.
As you enter the gardens you are greeted by a riot of humming birds that are only a few feet away dive bombing each other to get their turn at the feeder. This is the view as you enter the garden. Beautifully arranged and very inviting. In the distance mountains give scale to the garden nestled in between valleys. With views of the ocean just outside the harbor where we were anchored. The way that the “artist” as he’s described in the audio tour, used plants to create visual patterns, like this row of palms, is stunning. From another angle it looks very different. The close cropped grass and moss looked like green velvet.How about a view from the treetops? Prefer terra-firma? Even up close, everything was perfect. Everywhere I looked called out as a wonderful photo like this bamboo lining a path. I loved the visual patterns. Some so tiny you’d miss them if you didn’t look closely.
Wonderful patterns in the foliage. Clusters of colorful bromeliads growing on a trunk of a tree fern.
Fiddle heads, destined to tower over your head, emerging as thick as your wrist. Ferns so large you expect to see T Rex in the distance. Wonderful mix of textures and colors.
Glorious subtle patterns of green. Serene water lilies facing the morning sun. Everywhere plants competing for space, constantly adjusted to perfection by the gardeners. Flowers so perfect they don’t look real. This one stands shoulder height and is the size of a melon.
Hard to imagine that this is real. And, the familiar. Some much more dainty but equally beautiful.All and all, a wonderful place and unlike any other garden we have visited. Very “painterly” where the plants are the artist’s medium to create his ever changing palate.