Marie is a dietitian at one of the senior residences I work at. Born in Jamaica, she sometimes would talk about wonderful fruits and vegetables she grew in her yard here. When Marie invited me to her garden in Margate, I knew it would be special. Little did I know how special. There were so many fruit trees I lost count. There were about three or four akee trees, two or three avocado trees, one sour sop, several papaya trees, a few cashew trees, a sweetsop tree, a loquat, a few different mango trees, sweet sop, and so much more.
Her house is in a neighborhood filled with tropical fruit trees in many of the yards. Marie's house has a formal front garden with loads of colorful zinnias, coleus, perennials and shrubs. Garden whimsy abounds. The side and back yards are lined with tropical fruit trees. Amongst the trees are plenty of herbs such as Jamaican Thyme, oregano, mint, rosemary, lemongrass and more, tropical vegetables and creative planters.
An old tool chest donated from Marie's husband is utilized to grow cuttings. A three tiered planter holds wandering Jew. Potted seedlings of young trees grown from seeds abound. A raised bed vegetable garden that Marie built herself contains yams. There are young scotch bonnet peppers in pots, sugar cane, callaloo greens and other vegetables.
A visit to Marie’s garden is like a trip to a tropical grocery store. It was very educational for me, since I grew up in New Jersey. Now I want to go home and add more tropical trees, veggies and herbs to my garden.