Bajan heritage scored big at the 100th Chelsea Flower Show this year when the Barbados Horticultural Society walked away with a prestigious Silver Gilt for its interpretation of the island’s UNESCO designation.
The heritage-inspired exhibit, Celebrating UNESCO World Heritage – Bridgetown and its Garrison, won silver in the wee hours of this morning to give the award-winning team yet another feather in its cap.
The official BHS team, comprising Jennifer Weetch, Noreen Bailey, Carol-Anne Brancker, John Leach and Reverend Wayne Ramsay, along with several volunteer helpers, had worked very hard every day since their arrival in London last Thursday to create a top class display.
The team travelled to London with some 33 boxes of blooms and foliage, collected by members of the BHS from private gardens and nurseries around the island, to create the award winning 14-foot by eight-foot exhibit against a backdrop of the historic St. Anne’s Fort and the Parliament Buildings, complete with Clock Tower and a view of the Garrison Savannah.
The historic changing of the guard by soldiers of the Barbados Defence Force in Zouave uniforms was also within the backdrop which was provided by Andrew Hulsmeier and Suneeta Simmons, along with Neil Barnard of 809 Design.
Among the foliage was red, yellow and orange heliconias, while red ginger lilies and tulip gingers stood tall and erect in groupings of colours to portray marching soldiers. In stark contrast, three different varieties of pink ginger lilies, pink tulip gingers, anthuriums, orchids and several specimens of foliage recreated the Cenotaph Gardens, situated in the heart of Bridgetown, opposite the Houses of Parliament.
For the first time ever, the exhibit features the fruit of the “Cannonball” Tree (Couropita Guianensis — an evergreen tree related to the Brazil nut, native to the tropical northern region of South America and the Southern Caribbean), which stands majestically in the gardens across from the Parliament Buildings. This tree is always a source of great interest when in bloom because of its unique growth pattern and the fruit’s striking resemblance to a real cannon ball as used in battle in bygone years.
World acclaimed musician, songwriter and singer Eddy Grant represented Barbados at Monday’s Celebrity Day and he did an excellent job of promoting the island to a steady stream of media representatives.
Other special guests in attendance included Barbados High Commissioner to London, Tony Arthur and UK Head of Marketing for the Barbados Tourism Authority, Petra Roach. The highlight of the UK coverage of Barbados was when the exhibit featured on BBC 2 TV’s Chelsea Flower Show Special that same night.