Lovely L’Esterre Nursery, St Cloud’s

Hibiscus Flower

Wednesday we went to a nearby nursery that I’ve been dying to visit, and had a great time. Roderick was an enormous help and showed us all around their extensive stock, including their selection of various fancy palm trees. He was very knowledgeable, and we ended up cutting deeply into his lunch break by mistake!

I was in absolute heaven since I used to be a Yard Manager at White Rose Crafts & Nursery in Canada where I worked my way up from Craft Consultant, I just loved wandering up & down the benches of plants. Visiting a nursery in the Caribbean is still very strange for me, though, since so many of the tropical plants that are available are really only sold as houseplants in Canada. L’Esterre is not just a plant centre, but has a cocoa drying facility and working outbuildings, all very charming and picturesque… and of course the cocoa smells divine!

Because MoonFish is directly on the beach and have the cooling but very salty trade winds blowing almost all the time, we have a terrible time with decorative plants here – as well as fruit trees and vegetables, but that’s another story! I have done the research with some amazing books, and of course been spending a lot of time on the trial and error method. However, unlike my incredibly talented Mom, I have a famously black thumb & I’ve managed to kill loads of specimens that really should be fine, and are strongly recommended for seafront gardens.

Optimism triumphed over experience, of course, and I feel that I showed admirable restraint in only buying 2 large orange bromeliads, a variegated pale green, cream, & blush pink succulant, a rosemary bush and a “Texas Sage” (not edible, decorative silver flowering shrub that bears tiny fushia pink flowers). They also gave me 3 tiny clumping Golden Palms in styrofoam coffee cups to see if they’ll grow here, for no extra charge! For my local friends I strongly recommend stopping by soon, they have dozens of the “cups” of palms, and they are all for sale for only $5 EC. My other plants were all very reasonably priced as well, $15-$18 for the 1-2 gallon plants I’d chosen,and the stunning knee-high orange bromeliads were only $50 each. There are larger orange bromeliads with slightly fatter branches, and those are $100 each.

We have set the orange bromeliads on each side of the pool’s pump room, where they are very striking against the blue pool. I think they’ve found a home there, and I’ll post more photos once they are planted.

For a treat, Russ suggested that we stop for a roti at one of our favourite restaurants in Grenville, Good Food (orange restaurant across from Bains, just up the road from Ramdhanny’s Hardware) and Russ had the beef roti and I scooped the last chicken one. Of course it’s very popular, and we had just started eating when Roderick from L’Esterre dropped by for his own lunch! I turned back to ask Russ for a taste of his and it was almost gone – next time I’ll have to order the beef myself, it seems!

On the way home to Bathway Beach from Grenville we swung by Belmont Estate to pet all the goats and donkeys, visit the parrots and pick up some “goat berries” which is a nice name for goat manure. Then I spent some more time with the donkeys again, of course!

L’Esterre Nursery & Gardens are just between Grand Bras and Mirabeau, outside of Grenville. Open every day 8-4, 442 8947

Even Russ can’t wait to go back, he’s planning on bringing his travel paints with him next time, I know it’s going to become one of our favourite places to visit!