January 23, 2022

The Editor Speaks: Why do we plant flowers and not fruit and vegetables?

Pin It

Colin Wilsonweb2My wife and iNews Cayman publisher, Joan (Watler) Wilson asked this question after I read her the story we published today “Increased investment needed for smallholder agriculture”

She said when she grew up her mother and father’s garden in George Town had fruit trees of every kind eg grapefruit, breadfruit, star apple, orange, tangerine, plums, guinep, shaddock, naseberry,

When I grew up in England our first garden, and it wasn’t that big, had both eating and cooking apple trees, loganberry bushes and a vegetable patch (that occupied two thirds of the back garden area) plus greenhouse. My father even had what was known as an allotment that was a large area of ground belonging to the local Council that was divided up into lots for the public to use for plants. He paid a minimal fee and I used to go with him every Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon to help him.

The aforementioned article sent to us by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) concerns heads of state and government representatives meeting to explore ways of boosting investments in smallholder agriculture “that are essential to achieving the Global Goals of ending poverty and hunger”.

“Agriculture plays a fundamental role,” said Mattarella “You achieve the means to feed families, support forms of social organization, preserve land and biodiversity, fight against climate change, create jobs and prosperity, contribute to stable and just societies and, most importantly, eradicate the root causes that push more people to emigrate.”

Just recently here in Cayman we honoured our farmers, both past and present and Wednesday week ago we had the annual Agricultural Show.

I am pleased to see a lot more support to the Farmers Market by the Cricket Field with lots of cars parked there and persons exploring the now vast array of local produce on sale there.

There is also “The Grounds” – “a new 30-acre multi-use complex located in Lower Valley, Bodden Town. Just 10 miles from George Town, the grounds will be completed in phases and is dedicated to the talented farmers and artisans of the Cayman Islands by providing an outlet for everything grown and produced in these islands. The grounds’ vision is to promote Cayman’s agriculture and heritage and to facilitate its ongoing development through education, culture and social awareness. Designed by noted architect John Doak in conjunction with the government of the Cayman Islands, the grounds is a unique visionary concept that will bring Cayman’s community together at one venue to shop, explore, learn and enjoy a variety of cultural, social and entertainment events. Set amongst tranquil rural surroundings, visitors to the grounds will experience authentic culinary and agricultural traditions in a quaint village-style setting.” SOURCE: http://www.thegroundscayman.ky/

However, none of this has answered my original question “Why do we plant flowers and not fruit and vegetables?”

I am certainly not advocating not planting flowers. I love flowers. I am suggesting we grow flowers in harmony with fruit trees and vegetables.

Interplanting flowers and vegetable does more than pretty-up the veggie patch. Integrating flowers into your vegetable gardens or growing vegetables in with your flower borders can be fun and beneficial.

Flowers bring in the pollinators and beneficial insects, says horticulturalist Erica Shaffer on the Burpee website: www.burpee.com

Pollinating insects like butterflies and bees are crucial for vegetable development. With squash, for instance, you can have lush vines and leaves topped off with stellar large flowers, but if those flowers aren’t pollinated, no squash will develop.

Beneficial insects are also important because they target and organically control many pests, like the tomato hornworm for example.

Shaffer also says adding flowers and herbs to your garden, repels some pests.

Vegetable plants rival ornamental plants in their beauty. Delicate white snap pea blossoms sit on top butterfly-shaped leaves as wispy tendrils curl and dance. There’s added benefit in that pea tendrils are edible and an attractive addition to salads.

So think about it. You can’t eat many flowers. You can eat fruit and vegetables.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. I found the topic interesting and I can tell you why we don’t plant anything and that is because when we do it gets stolen! Locals seem to think that anything that is growing is there for the taking.

    D**** came out one morning to find a lady with a bag helping herself to the avocados off our tree, when asked what she was doing she said “I am only borrowing them”!

    The same with the breadfruit at the back of the house, we have had a man come with a hooked stick to help himself, also the apple bananas, if we don’t pick the BEFORE they are ripe they are always stolen, usually by twisting the whole bunch off the stem. D**** planted a guava tree which bore fruit for the first time last year and managed to harvest a couple of them, the rest were “stolen”.

    I have even seen a school bus stop at the house opposite us for the school children to take the mangos off the tree in the garden, and I am pretty sure they were not given permission.

    That is our reason why we will not plant any more fruit trees or even attempt at growing vegetables.


Speak Your Mind