Flowers in the Time of Drought


It may not be the best time to be writing about beautiful gardens and flowering yards, as our summer drought (an annual occurrence?) begins to bite. Nevertheless, I must, if only to cheer myself up. Looking at our barren yard with its dry patches of earth interspersed with tufts of yellow grass (it’s called a “lawn”) I fantasize about it all blossoming. You know, like the desert after a shower of rain?

Anyway, just keep this place in mind for when the rain does return – as it must, at some point. Then go along, buy some plants, cheer yourself up with their brightness.

Despite an astonishing, energetic thunderstorm in Kingston one night, the prospects for more rain look dim (although my smartphone app is optimistic, but local weathermen less so). In light of this, I wanted to share with you a wonderful discovery I made a few weeks ago. If you are in Kingston, it is the place to find (and buy, at reasonable prices) any kind of plant you can imagine. It is the Hope Gardens Nurseries. To find it, you drive in the main gate and tell them you are going to the nursery. They give you a ticket. Then through the gardens gate – the guard will direct you to the right, so you drive down a short bit of road to a semi-ruined house. Beyond is the extensive nursery, filled with a huge variety of trees, flowers and bushes.

The Hope Gardens Nurseries have pomegranate trees! Which should grow well in dry conditions. Here is one I found in the garden of remembrance at the Shaare Shalom Synagogue in downtown Kingston. (My photo)
The Hope Gardens Nurseries have pomegranate trees! Which should grow well in dry conditions. Here is one I found in the garden of remembrance at the Shaare Shalom Synagogue in downtown Kingston. (My photo)

 

Please note: the photos of the nursery were taken several weeks ago, before the water restrictions began!

And as an afterthought: we are seriously considering finding a cooler spot on the planet next summer. We might migrate for the season, and return with the little wild warblers from the north. Tropical summers are always hot, but this is the second consecutive summer of bush fires and dust. It’s becoming too much.

I’d like to find a nice glacier, melting or otherwise, to nestle beside. Reykjavik sounds appealing to me, right now.

Our modest purchases in a wheelbarrow… We will be back for more when the drought lifts.
Our modest purchases in a wheelbarrow… We will be back for more when the drought lifts.
Garden meditation… This gentleman was shelling palm seeds.
Garden meditation… This gentleman was shelling palm seeds.
Lovely stuff.
Lovely stuff.
Fruit trees, bedding plants, palms, orchids, all kinds of unusual plants. You name it!
Fruit trees, bedding plants, palms, orchids, all kinds of unusual plants. You name it!
In places the vines seem to be holding up the building. But it could be restored and made into a really nice arts center...
In places the vines seem to be holding up the building. But it could be restored and made into a really nice arts center…
We discovered a lovely old stone building near the nurseries, which sadly appeared to be merging into the landscape.
We discovered a lovely old stone building near the nurseries, which sadly appeared to be merging into the landscape.
An unusual plant (a datura, I think). With my love of purple I couldn't resist buying one.
An unusual plant (a datura, I think). With my love of purple I couldn’t resist buying one.
Hanging baskets galore.
Hanging baskets galore.

14 thoughts on “Flowers in the Time of Drought

    1. Hi Doris: Just click on the Facebook icon at the bottom of the article and you can share it in a group that you administer, your timeline etc… Or you can copy and paste the link onto the FB page. Either way should work! Thanks, Emma

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  1. It seems so odd that your country/area is in a drought, so I suppose everyone is hoping for tropical formations to bring life-giving rains. El Nino has strange effects, where it withholds from one, it dumps on others. I’ve read that Peru is getting some seriuos rain, and I suspect the bad little child is waiting to torment us a bit later. We continue to get very atypical rain, not much, but more than norm for this time of year. And it’s hot hot hot, also very atypical.

    Yes, the pomegranites do well here in the dry rain forest climate… They seem to produce fruit when I wonder how they can find moisture to fill those plump little orbs that surround each seed!

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    1. The whole of the Caribbean. We had a terrible drought which lasted the whole summer last year, and our part of the tropics at least seems to be steadily drying out. I have not yet read a “layman’s terms” explanation but the theory with climate change is that the tropics WILL dry out over time, with episodes of extreme rain in between. There are bush fires in the hills almost continuously. Even normally, our side of the island gets much less rain than the northern and western parts, so that’s another problem.By the way according to a scientific report recently, the city of Kingston will be the second city globally to experience “climate departure” – estimated around 2023. It is almost unlivable now so if I am still around then, I may not be living here! 😦
      Yes, we are very hot too – mainly because no rain. Pomegranates are amazing, and people pay a small fortune for the juice in “first world” countries! Supposedly very healthy…

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      1. I wonder what the ijmpact of new introduced species would be – trees that grow in the drought=tolerant landscapes (bouganvilla is one that’s very acceptable and has already proven its visual worth.) then our beloved moringa should be able to hang on, right? and provide a food source – a very nutritional food source. i’ll start paying more attention to the landscape especially in the dry season to see what’s strongest. we also have a showy native yellow-flowering cordia ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cordia_lutea ) that hummingbirds love, and the sticky pulp around the seeds is used for glue!

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      2. I just looked up the cordia, and it looks lovely. I don’t think it grows here. We have a lot of bougainvillea already and the colors are wonderful. Our moringa trees are definitely holding their own I am glad to say… I’m going to do some research on more drought-tolerant plants!

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      3. I’m so grateful to have moringa as a backup food source on days my cupboards are empty and i don’t feel like going to town. Another favorite are the shocking red hibiscus flowers I use for tea but also for a lettuce substitute, much more colorful on the plate and also nutritious. They call the hibsicus ‘flor de jamaica’ btw! I try to have plants that will help thru a crisis, ahem, like an el nino year if the supply routes are blocked b/c of flooding and landslides.

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      4. Ah! Hibiscus flowers! Yes, we actually have a plant related to the hibiscus called “sorrel” (it’s not the sorrel I know but that’s the local name) that grows wild and we make the flowers into a drink. Amazing that these plants are so nutritious. Our moringa is doing really well and is an amazing food source. It just gives you energy. Hope you don’t have too many more crises! But I know what it’s like… Currently it’s drought for us, but landslides etc are also very familiar to us, too! Take care… (I’ve never used hibiscus as a lettuce substitute, must try it).

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  2. Gardens are so peaceful, I love ours, and I rarely water the flowers. We grow very tolerant perennials which also grow in terrible clay soil. I do water my vegetable garden only because it feeds us.

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    1. I love my garden too and am so happy to have that space around me, and very little concrete! But these days I don’t go out until it cools down in late afternoon… If you could see our plants right now, they are all gasping and saying “We need WATER!” The weather is not normal any more, and due to water restrictions we only have the rainwater we have saved in our tank (nearly empty) to water our plants…

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      1. Years ago we have had water restrictions. What puzzles me the most is the people who waste water hosing doing their driveways? Do you see that happening in Jamaica or is it a North American thing?

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      2. I don’t think it’s just a North American thing Catherine… I have seen householders in Jamaica do the same thing, and there are 1000 different ways in which one can waste water around the house. We are now finding even more ingenious ways to SAVE water! 🙂

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  3. What a lovely post, and so great of you to call attention to this nursery, hopefully, many more people will visit and support it! I had to laugh about your wanting to nestle bedside a nice glacier, melting or otherwise!!! If you’re looking for a cooler place to spend the summer, think about New England! We have lovely summers up here with only a few really hot days. We turn our AC on only a few times in summer. There are wonderful summer holiday places in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts – the mountains and coast are both gorgeous. You are welcome to visit me here in Boston anytime!!!!

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    1. Goodness Lisa… That’s a tempting offer! It sounds just right. Our son went to school in Massachusetts and he loved it there. I remember his graduation (from Lawrence Academy, in Groton) on a beautiful summer’s day! We don’t have AC at home but we are seriously considering having one room with AC (but electricity rates are high so it frightens you off…) We really think we are going to take off next year – perhaps getting older we have a lower tolerance for this heat, I don’t know!

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