Chelsea International Horticultural Show 2011

In this article, I am diverting from my comments on the Grenada Boys Secondary School Song to another aspect of the fruits of the ‘vibrant fecundity’ of Grenada, the country. The phrase was uttered more than 20 years ago by a visiting Lady Member of the British House of Lords, who had an interest in Agriculture. Some visitors, entranced by the beauty of islands like Grenada, elevate their descriptions to high levels, for example, they say ‘this is a paradise’. I have never welcomed what seemed to me to be an implicit comparison with their own country.  And flowers do have a way of diverting attention from other country issues. This Baroness (whose name, with apologies, I cannot recall) was more mundane in her description, and frankly for me hit the right button.

The Baroness was invited to the Mirabeau Agricultural Station to see a research plot of the flowers you see exhibited at the Chelsea Show. Mirabeau is prone to rainfall, and that morning was no surprise. I remember many of us standing under the wide branches of a tall mango tree, one so tall that no fruit fell from it that did not burst open. The atmosphere was not only warm, but also carried with it that smell that comes from decaying leaves on damp earth. But the red and pinks of Ginger Lilies and Heliconia elevated our spirits.

My colleague, Daniel Lewis, then Flowers Agronomist of the Ministry of Agriculture, presented the Baroness with a bunch of mixed flowers and the words ‘Lovely flowers for a lovely lady”. At which she immediately quipped: “Stay around, boy, stay around”. Good enough for starting the day with a good laugh. She then proceeded with a short speech in which she mentioned that she could almost feel the “vibrant fecundity” which she was seeing around her. That struck a strong chord in me – it was a different and wider view to see Grenada as productive rather than paradisiacal.

Every year over the last nine years, Grenadian pride has been on exhibit, and winning at the Chelsea International Horticultural Show. Every year, not only has the mix of products been startling, but the arrangements have also been brilliant. To me, the soul behind the production and display of Grenada’s flora is no better described than by that term “vibrant fecundity”.  Stay long enough just looking at the mixes in the Grenada pictures, and you will feel the ‘vibrant fecundity’ of Grenada, the pride of the producers, and the brilliance of the organizers. Then inspect the natural beauty of the individual flowers and ornamental plants. Brilliant, vibrant fecundity indeed!

For my part, the GBSS, the GBSS Hostel and others of that type are other aspects of that vibrant fecundity of Grenada. Think about it!

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  1. I just extra this site to my top picks. I enjoy reading through your posts.

  2. GJ Mc Guire says:

    Wonderful thoughts,and cleverly written. I have to welcome Commonwealth Parliamentarians to the 36th annual CPA regional conference in a few days. Your article on vibrant fecundity has given me some pointers on themes to explore,which should not ignore our astounding successes at Chelsea,thanks to the pioneering work of polished gems like your good-self. Daniel Lewis is still around. I am sure he will be elated to learn of your comments…Mango Beff! Grenada’s answer to food security. No town boy can go hungry for a week after eating one Mango Beff!!!

    • admin says:

      Georgie, Thanks for your comment. I am happy that you can utilise thoughts coming out of the article. I must also thank you also for your continued support for the Hostel book since its emergence.You are right about Mango Beff. Mango was the informal part of rural food security, and what a mix that was – with yam, sweet potato, dasheen, tannia, breadfruit, banana, bluggoe, saltfish, breadnut etc.etc. Another definition of food security – to be able to find food when hungry. Regards. Bobby.

  3. Nordica says:

    Very interesting article. Just when I thought there was not one more thing to be said about Grenada in a book>>>here comes>>>we’ve done the dialect, the food, the cultural beliefs, the festivals, and the revolutions>>>and now here come the GBSS Hostel and The Fecundity>>Nice!

  4. dtr says:

    Beutifully written, beautiful country and great people.

    However, the only way to stop the mangoes droppping to the ground and bursting is to climb the tree and pick them before they drop!!

    • admin says:

      Thanks, Des. The mango was a type called ‘mango beff’, a large round mango with a soft disposition both in flesh and skin. You eat one and it fills the stomach. Not many were eaten if the other smaller and sweeter varieties were nearby.Like many trees on the Station, this one was tall, guaranteeing a smashed fruit on impact. The tree provided good shade for flowers and also some shelter in a drizzle.

  5. Gordon Tel says:

    Being from LaDigue an area highter in altitude than Mirabeau and prone to high rainfall we too appreciate the natural beauty of flora and fauna. Our family sold Anthurium Lilies to the Hotels and guest houses in the city. Flowers and Gardening was always part of the economic base of the rural areas but somehow was never moved into structured large scale production that could have moved the local economy to next level.

    • admin says:

      Mekek…. La Digue, oh La Digue – there must be a song behind the name. I have always had a fascination with names of places and the history behind them. Guyana and Grenada provided a feast of this, and I have been known to encourage students to do theses on place names and history. As a youngster, I was intrigued every time I passed by La Digue on my way to Capitol or back. The whole area from Rhamdanny’s shop to capitol had its own mystique. Maybe now, but then you did not see much of La Digue from the road. It was somewhere inside. Then I go to GBSS and meet people with exotic family names like Ogilvie, Telesford, Wells, Buckmire, Shears, McGuire, Noel. Lowe and others, all from La Digue. For me a fascinating, but as you say, an always-wet place. I do recall lots of families in Grenada growing small amounts of flowers; actually I believe that there was a Grenada Annual Flower Show.The Grenada Agricultural Rehabilitation and Crop Diversification Project (1986-1991) played in great role in promoting, supporting, and commercializing flower production in Grenada.

  6. Judes says:

    Very nice Dadz! And I like the comparison to GBSS etc

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