Field Guide Fridays – sneak peak

   Over the last couple of years I have gained a whole new appreciation for local flora and fauna.  With Fleur de Lys Villa there was such a steep learning curve with the landscaping, one I am very proud of having gone through and learned many lessons from.  The villa boasts a wide variety of beautiful tropical species, many chosen based on their aesthetic properties.  Some have taken root, multiplied, and flourished. Others have sadly suffered in their surroundings and slowly wilted away.  For the last week I have been in the garden every day for the first time in many months, toiling away during rain and shine.  At the end of an eight hour day, full of dirt and grime and sweat from all the labors of yard work, I plump down in the courtyard sofa and listen to the birds sing and enjoy the peace and serenity of the surroundings my hands, and many others, have put so very many hours into.  It’s a classic case of “if I knew then, what I know now.”  If I only would have found my appreciation for local species before we started building and slowly evaluated what indigenous trees, shrubs, vines, and flowers would have worked beautifully for our vision.  Do I think we could have achieved the same lush, romantic feel?  Absolutely.  It possibly just would have taken another decade for these local species to grow to great heights but I do believe they would be far more likely to be resilient to sickness and disease, acclimated to the challenging Caribbean climate, and long lasting without the constant care and attention.
   With our new project in Longbay Hills, I have vowed not to put ANY non native species into the ground (other than our fruit and vegetable garden and compost heap).  It will be a challenge but a great experiment I look forward to.  I hope others learn from our situation and take a moment to walk through the beautiful bush, stop and smell the flowers, watch the insects and animals and really appreciate this highly unique environment in which we live and/or visit.  There is no reason not to use native species in your home garden and it is an absolute crime against nature to clear cut what has taken hundreds of years for Mother Nature to nourish.  Love where you live! I would like to continue my learning and expand my appreciation, but also strongly hope to spread that knowledge and curiosity to others, thus every Field Guide Friday will feature a native plant or animal species here on Pepper and Pikey.  Stay posted!

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