Yesterday we took a drive up to the hills of St. Joseph to visit the beautiful Hunte’s Gardens. Whilst only 25 minutes from home the winding ‘highways’ often make driving in Barbados a challenge and a half; think narrow roads often without sidewalks and junctions that come out of nowhere, which isn’t helped by the lack of road markings (or well worn markings which are as much use as the proverbial chocolate teapot if you don’t know the roads) give way or stop signs. Thankfully on this occasion once we’d got on to the main highway the signage to this place was plentiful and easy to follow. Phew, as you really would not want to miss this place! Seriously.
The website says that the gardens ‘offer garden and nature lovers one of the finest experiences one can find on East Caribbean islands’ and in my experience to date that rings true. Check out the photos of the amazing plants and flowers that are abundant in the gardens, and take a look at the website for more information.(http://huntesgardensbarbados.com/).
The gardens are owned, created and managed by Anthony Hunte, who also lives in the grounds and who openly invites you in to his home for soft drinks and a cheeky shot of 10 year old rum, which is distilled under his name by the local Foursquare distillery.
Anthony is a friendly chap and knowledgeable horticulturist with a talent for creating masterpieces from the plants and flowers at his disposal. He also takes part in the annual Chelsea Flower Show in London, UK each year, winning many awards for the Island. Paired with beautiful statues and adorable gargoyles the plants really do come to life in his hands and you cannot help but smile when you meander the narrow pathways and stepping stones that guide you along your way. I challenge any gardener or plant enthusiast not to be impressed by this spectacular presentation of beauty and colour.
In the grounds you can also visit the old outbuilding with its unique artefacts and cozy atmosphere. We had time to explore this charming place as we took shelter in here during a tropical downpour. The dining table is set with candles and Willow pattern china and there are other pieces of Wedgewood also dotted around. A hummingbird had made a hanging nest in the lampshade and had no fear at all when flying in and out and around us.
The garden is built over many levels and this is further accentuated by the layers of small shrubs, majestic trees and towering palm trees (complete with a troupe of Bajan green monkeys who put on an entertaining display of acrobatics). Around each twist and turn another experience awaits you, with chairs and benches dotted around for your relaxation, viewing pleasure or even a place to stop and eat your picnic (we didn’t have a picnic, but would definitely take one next time and we were even asked by Anthony as soon as we arrived whether we had brought one).
This is one of the most beautiful gardens we have ever visited and coupled with Anthony’s cheerful welcome and solid hospitality it is a fantastic experience. I don’t think you would tire of this place, and repeat visits are definitely on our agenda. Must remember the picnic next time! And if you do visit, please don’t forget your camera. You don’t need to worry about an umbrella to protect you from the tropical showers, as Anthony has already thought of this and there are many available if you should need them.
What a beautiful afternoon and we can’t wait to go back. Thank you Anthony for sharing this treasure.