July 10, 2020

Gardens of Nevis


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Been There, Do This: The Botanical Gardens of Nevis in the Caribbean

The Rainforest Conservatory at The Botanical Gardens of Nevis
Credit: 2019 Valerie Chen

By Valerie Chen from Travel Age

Mother Earth seems to have taken a special liking to the Caribbean island of Nevis, where nature shines bright almost year-round. An iridescent Caribbean Sea sparkles under the sun, palm trees sway gently to and fro, and impossibly fluffy white clouds complement a blue sky — all while volcanic Nevis Peak and its lush, green slopes stand tall in the distance, providing an elegant backdrop. 

The Botanical Gardens of Nevis, a popular attraction for travelers to the island, takes advantage of these ideal conditions, gathering not only local flora, but also botany from all over the world. Here, hundreds of tree, plant and flower species thrive in Nevis’ tropical environment.

Set in the historical Montpelier Estate, the 8-acre Botanical Gardens comprises six garden areas total, each dedicated to one type of flora or fauna such as orchids, cacti, tropical fruits, tropical vines, herbs or butterflies. Many of the plants showcased have traveled a long way — there are purple-flowering saritaea magnifica (also known as “glow vines”) from South America; golden latan palms that are endangered on Rodrigues Island in the Indian Ocean, but thriving on Nevis soil; and cassia fistula ( “golden shower tree”), which is native to India, Pakistan and Thailand.

Meanwhile, in four herb gardens, guests will spot six varieties of chilis, three types of basil, mint, rosemary and more, as well as vegetables including bok choy, eggplant and sweet potatoes. These crops are used by staff in their own meals, as well as in the on-site Oasis in the Gardens Restaurant. Ranked No. 1 on TripAdvisor for restaurants in Charlestown, Nevis, the eatery offers authentic Thai cuisine, including tom yum goong soup (a hot and sour soup), gaeng kiew wan (spicy green curry), pla kee mao (whole fish) and more.

During my visit, though, my favorite corner was the Rainforest Conservatory, a stately all-glass greenhouse flanked by palm trees. (Its design was modeled after the iconic Palm House at England’s Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.) The space is prosperous with life, and a slow stroll through its winding corridors will reveal bounty such as vibrant heliconia rostrata (“lobster claw”), which are native to the Andes mountain range, and iris giganticaerulea (“giant blue iris”), which originate from North America. 

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The Botanical Gardens of Nevis

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