Trips from cruise ships can be a formulaic exercise, fun but, well, formulaic. Our January 2020 visit to Jean Renwick’s garden on the fertile island of Grenada in the Southern Caribbean was certainly slickly organised as a convoy of minibuses sped up the hillside, avoiding those earlier minibuses speeding down. The drivers chatted together as we clambered out to be greeted by giant tortoises and Jean’s son, ‘Randy by name, randy by nature.’

Arriving at Sunnyside Garden, Jean Renwick looking down from her balcony.
Randy from his Facebook page.
Entertainment for the visitors on arrival.
Randy Renwick greets visitors with a lively history of the garden. His hand might just be discerned if you follow the eyes.

The garden was first landscaped in the early 1990s and wrecked by a hurricane in 2004. The reliable rainfall, summer temperatures and rich volcanic soil are the aces in the pack. Everything grows profusely so initial planting and subsequent recovery were easier than in a less agreeable climate. But Mrs Renwick had the perfect eye and determination. She told us how in the early days she had smuggled, er imported, plants and seeds to the island. The result is a lush paradise.

The garden tour is well organised.
Lush plants and a backdrop to die for.
The local branch of the RHS meets on the formal lawn or the cooler veranda.
Fish also love to devour insects.

Our guide explained the medicinal qualities of the plants; annato or lipstick plant, the seeds used to rouge the lips of little girls and, as we discovered for ourselves, visitors; and citrus fruits, palm trees and a myriad plants we can dream of.

Our guide certainly knew his onions. It was a comprehensive tour.

Again formulaically perhaps but the climax of the visit was a drink of rum punch on the veranda and welcome indeed. Though as pleasurable was a little glance at Jean’s delightful home. More precious was an opportunity to chat to the lady herself and congratulate her on a garden that surpassed expectations and the cruise formula.

Veranda, again taken from the garden’s Facebook pages.
A collage of snaps from inside the house.

And finally …

Jean Renwick in her garden.

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