THE BOTTOM- Work is moving ahead at the Botanical Garden in Windwardside. A fence has been put up around the property to keep goats and other roaming animals out, a trail has been created and the propagation house, a plant and tree nursery, is under construction.
Remaining work before the Botanical Garden can open next year includes the placing of information signs about the trees and plants, the installing of benches and picnic tables, the construction of an outdoor kitchen, and an area for orchids and herbal medicine plants. Placing a fence around the 8,400 square meter property was necessary to keep out the goats, rabbits and chicken so they don’t eat the seedlings and saplings that are being planted. The Botanical Garden project is carried out by the Saba Conservation Foundation (SCF) with funding of the Public Entity Saba.
The Botanical Garden will only have local plants and trees, and will be kept in its natural state as much as possible. Visitors will be able to see fruit trees such as guava, mango, Suriname cherries, banana, cashew, soursop, breadfruit, rough skin lemon, mammee apple, as well as the moringa tree, the cacao tree and the cedar tree. A number of the trees and plants are already located in what used to be a farm area until the 1970s. People will be able to experience the farm-to-table concept. At the outdoor kitchen, traditional food will be cooked, using the produce from the Botanical Garden.
A trail now loops through the Botanical Garden connecting with both the Trail Shop and the Museum grounds. The property originally belonged to the Arnold family which donated the land to the SCF in 2017. SCF Director Kai Wulf explained that the intention is to point out and educate locals and tourists alike about the historical, traditional and medicinal significance of the local flora displayed in the garden. Anna Keene and Tom van ’t Hof have advised on the setup of the new attraction for Saba.
Commissioner Bruce Zagers recently visited the Botanical Garden. Together with policy advisor Nicole Johnson and Director of Tourism Malinda Hassell, he was given a tour by Wulf. The Botanical Garden will be a great addition both for residents and visitors, said Commissioner Zagers. He pointed out that the garden will make it possible for persons who find the regular trails too strenuous to get acquainted with Saba’s nature.
The Botanical Garden will open for the general public in the course of next year. In the future, people can book the Botanical Garden for events. Local artist Heleen Cornet will have an event on February 22, 2022 whereby 22 of her famous rainforest paintings will be displayed throughout the Botanical Garden.
Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands and SCF Board member Nicole Johnson unveiled a sign depicting the various plants and trees at the Botanical Garden in December 2019.