Wednesday, February 3, 2010

TheTaming of the Jungle

We finally have a gardener at work on our hillside, and so far, we are quite pleased with his work. We returned to the island after a six month absence to find everything very overgrown. Normally, we ask our friends, Dennis and Merlin, to hire a gardener to trim and clean up our property before our return. For some reason, that didn't happen this year. I think Don forgot to ask Dennis and, as we learned after our return, Dennis and Merlin gave all their workers the entire month of December off. 

This is the "before" view, looking over our deck down onto the hill below. What you are looking at is mostly our huge Pride of Barbados tree that fell over but continued to grow......sideways.....across the top of several hibiscus bushes. This tree is probably actually a shrub since it has multiple trunks. Two of the larger trunks fell over, two small ones grew up between the floorboards of our deck, and five more small trunks are growing up along side one of the support posts for our deck. These have now been thinned out.
Enrique and a friend of his chopped off the two fallen sections of the tree/shrub. They had quite a little struggle pulling those sections free; the tree/shrub must have been 15 feet tall and was enmeshed with vines and overgrown branches of hibiscus and bougainvilla plants. The "Pride" also has nasty thorns, so Enrique and his pal were happy that we provided nice thick work gloves for them.
I took a walk early in the morning before Enrique arrived. This is looking down the hill just below our property. I walked down to where there appears to be a cross in the grass and then part way up the very steep hill to the left.
My objective was to take this photo looking up at our house and at the jungle below it. This shows pretty well how overgrown everything had become. We are just ending the rainy season, which explains the lushness. I don't want a severe trimming and cleaning like some of our former gardeners have done. I just want a healthy trimming to maximize the beauty of the flowers, and to eliminate some excess of the more invasive plants and shrubs. For example, those large green and yellow-leaved trees behind our house all started from one small tree that someone gave Merlin. They are beautiful, but get very large and are now nearly surrounding our property, much like the banana trees have done. Because they are so large, they tend to block some of the breeze, coming from the east especially, and block the view in other directions, so a trimming is in order.

I really appreciate that Enrique will call me to look over what he is doing and ask if it meets my approval. When he began trimming the hibiscus bushes, he asked if that height was ok; I asked him to leave the others just a bit taller, and he did. I really hate to lose any of the flowers, but unfortunately, they seem to grow at the end of wild 8 foot long branches. Once trimmed, they will soon begin flowering on the shorter branches. 
I'll post some "after" photos later.


  1. WOWOWOWOW!!! It looks awesome. I remember the last pictures I took down below looking up- looks nothing like thia.

  2. i love the photo looking up at your house. did you fight through the jungle to take it or did don? either way it is great!