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From the Caribbean to Chelsea: Grenada strikes gold

By: Dave Gunner

May 22, 2019

Huge congratulations to Grenada who have won gold for the 15th time at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

A botanical paradise

The Caribbean island of Grenada, also known as the spice island, is a lush green paradise and a treat for budding botanists. The island is home to some magnificent tropical gardens such as the Palm Tree Gardens in the parish of Saint David, a decade-long labour of love for self-taught botanist Lawrence Lambert, and the Hyde Park Tropical Garden in the capital St. George’s, a small estate where you can stroll among a variety of palms, cycads, heliconias, bougainvillaea and other exotic plants. If you prefer your plant life a bit more natural, Grenada’s got that covered too with its spectacular Grand Etang National Park. Home to a volcanic crater lake, this mountainous rainforest is a great place to go hiking, with trails that weave through soaring mahogany trees and ferns.

With such a deep botanical heritage, it’s no surprise that Grenada is a keen competitor at the RHS Chelsea Flower show which opened in London this week. Impressively, the island has just won its 15th Gold Medal in 21 years; a fantastic achievement for such a tiny nation. Designed by Catherine John, the exhibit is named ‘A Carnival of Exotic Tropical Blooms’, and its lavish planting brings the Caribbean to life with a vibrant representation of the colourful outfits worn by revellers at the islands’ annual ‘Spicemas’ carnival celebrations held every August.

Inspired by carnival

The design is inspired by a carnival float, an essential part of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique’s cultural heritage. The carnival theme is reflected in an extravagant display of heliconias, bromeliads, orchids, gingers and tropical ferns, complemented by the islands’ scented spices and leafy foliage, and exemplified by a steel pan and masque. The blooms, greenery and spices were grown in Grenada and arranged to Catherine’s design.

“‘A Carnival of Exotic Tropical Blooms’ is inspired by our islands’ annual celebrations, cornerstones of our culture and an especially memorable time for visitors to come to Grenada,” said Catherine. “Seeing Grenada at Carnival is to experience our islands at their very best as it’s a time when we celebrate everything that makes them so special all year round.”

The Grenada team and their gold medal

More than just foliage

The island of Grenada has so much to offer, even if plants aren’t your thing. Located in the eastern Caribbean just south of Barbados, the “Spice Island of the Caribbean” is known for its cinnamon and nutmeg production, as well as a number of rum distilleries and chocolate factories. It’s also home to more than 30 exceptional dive sites, including the Caribbean’s largest shipwreck ‘Bianca C’ and the world’s first underwater sculpture park.


For more information on the tri-island destination of Grenada and ‘Spicemas Carnival’ (August 12 and 13), visit PureGrenada.com.

Virgin Atlantic operates two flights per week to Grenada from London Gatwick

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Dave Gunner

Dave is the co-editor of Ruby, the Virgin Atlantic Blog. He has worked at Virgin Atlantic for over two decades. In that time he has amassed some truly epic memories but never lost his fascination with the airline world. Dave's on a mission to bring you some great insights into our people, planes and planet.

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