Sunday, 23 August 2015
Of course I don't go to church, organised religion seems so wrong to me, so instead we went in search of Eden and found it at Hunte's Garden. After a journey of twists and turns, monkeys and mongooses, we arrived to find Anthony waiting for us. Strange, because he didn't know we were coming but had heard us approaching.
High in the hills in the centre of Barbados, Anthony Hunte has made a garden, as eccentric as my tiny backyard, but on a literally earth shattering scale. Back in the nineties he bought a big hole where a cave had collapsed for about £1,500. Over two years he put in plants, steps and seating that has transformed the place into a personal Eden.
Once in the garden he told us to wander at will and proceeded to water everything in sight, including us. It was so special walking through the tropical rain-forest full of plants that can only grow indoors at home, and many others that you could only find in a botanical garden hothouse in England.
The hummingbirds shot between the pineapple plants, and huge butterflies chased each other through the trees. Every now and then you would find a place of magical solitude to sit and listen to the classical music that Anthony insists on playing and stare at a Buddha or an incongruous gnome. This man is making a living - and a good one - from just doing the thing he loves. How very lucky he is. His family have lived on the island since the 1700s, he is old school colonial with the manners to match, and as I sat chatting to him over a glass of rum in the converted stables, overlooking his garden, where he lives you could see his pride. He even persuaded us to give a lift back to Holetown to a newly married Greek couple, to save them having to wait over an hour for the bus.
What an incredible few hours. If you ever get this way, be sure to visit. It's well worth the thirty dollar Barbados entrance fee.