Work starts on Saba Botanical Garden

Work starts on Saba Botanical Garden

The Bottom, Saba – The Saba Conservation Foundation (SCF), with funding of the Public Entity Saba, has started the works on the Botanical Garden in Windwardside. The botanical garden will have only local plants and trees and will be a great addition for residents and visitors.

Workers are busy installing a fence around the property behind the Trail Shop. This fence is necessary to keep out the goats, so they don’t eat the young plants. Local experts are providing advice on planting plants and trees that naturally grow on Saba or which have been naturalized.

Local fruit trees such as guava, mango, Suriname cherries, banana, cashew, soursop, breadfruit, rough skin lemon, and mammee apple will all be part of the Botanical Garden, but also medicinal trees and plants such as the moringa tree and aloe. Trees that once grew in larger numbers on Saba but hard to find nowadays, like the cacao tree, will be planted. A propagation house will be constructed, a nursery where seedlings and saplings will be grown.

“It will be a cross-section of plants that many of us know. But we will also include old, forgotten trees that people know from the past, like what they call the ferron or marshmallow tree, and the West Indian Mahogany, which has a long history of boat building and the making of furniture,” said SCF Director Kai Wulf. A number of the trees and plants are already located in what used to be a farm area until the 1970s. Many local people know this area as the Banana Gut or the Breadfruit Gut.

A sign, unveiled in December 2019 by Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands and SCF board member Nicole Johnson, shows the kinds of trees and plants displayed. During that ceremony, Johnson stated that incorporating the local plants into the botanical garden was important for future generations. The area will be kept as much as possible in its natural state.

Commissioner Bruce Zagers, who took a tour of the area on Tuesday, February 9, expressed his pleasure in seeing this initiative finally starting to materialize. “For several years, this has been a priority, but it never materialized because of limited funding. Having this botanical will further enhance our nature appeal for tourism while providing our people the opportunity to learn more about indigenous plant and tree species.”

Zagers went on to say that the Botanical Garden will serve as another attraction for our visitors. “It will offer persons who find the regular trails too strenuous, but who still would like to experience the nature that Saba has to offer, the opportunity to immerse themselves in nature. The Museum grounds and the Harry L. Johnson Museum will add to the cultural experience, to learn about those who have come before us.”

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