When we planted grass at Fish Hooks, we figured that would be the extent of our yard work, at least for a while. There were plenty of indoor tasks demanding attention. And though Tom and I had visions of a lush, tropical oasis of a back yard, as condo dwellers, we weren’t terribly sure where to begin. Fortunately, our Green Turtle Cay family, friends and neighbours stepped in to help.
My cousin Alton Lowe and his friend Mike Donovan brought a selection of clippings from Alton’s amazing garden, including sisal, aloe, bromeliads, yellow frangipani (a.k.a. plumeria) and shrimp flowers. I’m especially excited about the latter, since Alton tells us it was my great-grandmother, Ma May, who first introduced shrimp flowers to the cay.
Our western neighbour, Eileen Hodgkins, gave us an entire pot of showers of gold (a.k.a. thryallis) she’d grown from seeds. Another day, she stopped by with a dwarf poinciana cutting, and when I admired the fragrant blossoms on her neem tree, she graciously offered us a clipping.
Our neighbour to the south, Winkie Wilson, brought us a handful of baby coconut trees. Another friend, Fanny McIntosh, gave us a young frangipani tree she’d rooted from a clipping. Donnie Adderley, our electrician, contributed a lily plant, and our gardener, Charles Smith, added a small mango tree, a chenille plant and several croton clippings.
A few weeks back, my uncle, Jeffrey Albury — who has clearly inherited Ma May’s green thumb — sent an entire pallet of plants, including desert roses, bridal bouquet, oleander as well as young key lime, sour orange, avocado, guava and soursop trees, on the freight boat from Nassau.
As horticultural newbies, Tom and I are grateful for the gardening advice we’ve received from Josh Lowe, Nigel Lowe and Leonard Lowe (who’s responsible for the gorgeous gardens at the Leeward Yacht Club), and for the extra sprinkler our friend, Matt Lowe, lent us to water our oasis-in-the-making.
Today, we have more than fifty new plants and trees in our yard, all — except for an avocado tree I sprouted from a pit — generously given to us by family and friends!
It truly is a community garden — a lovely, living reminder of the friendship and kindness extended by so many to Tom and me throughout our Fish Hooks journey. Thank you to everyone who’s helped bring it to life.
Related: Resurrecting Ma May’s Garden