Tuesday 21 January, 2020

Natural beauty, Andromeda Botanic Gardens facing ugly challenges

-by Asha Cumberbatch 

Local attraction, Andromeda Botanic Gardens, has been beset by a number of challenges and Barbadians are urged to lend their support. 

During the month of December, the owner of the Gardens created an exciting way of attracting locals, allowing these ones to view the premises, free of cost, every weekend of the month if they were able to recite the passkey located on their Facebook page. This island attraction opened every day of the year except Christmas Day, however, the holiday spirit failed to blow through the St Joseph attraction- evidenced by the lack of the persons who came to visit.

The Andromeda Botanic Gardens was established by Iris Bannochie and her husband, at the time, Dr Harry Bayley. The garden surrounded the couple’s home with six acres of a unique collection of plants. Iris passed on the gardens to the Barbados National Trust so that Barbadians and visitors could benefit from it.

The lack of patronage is not the only issue presently affecting the Gardens. 

The main entrance of the gardens is experiencing a leak in the roof along with other major damages. These are damages that have been occurring for several years and they have yet to be rectified.

Though the National Trust is responsible for the maintenance of the facility, employees are frustrated about the lack of support from the organization. There was a recent water leakage that caused the water bill to tremendously surpass the usual amount. This concern was brought to the attention of the National Trust however, the leak continued for months. It reached the stage where the owner was forced to call a plumber to repair the damages. .

Recently there was a rumor circulating about the Gardens that has negatively impacted their growth. It was said that the Gardens was being permanently closed.

Futhermore, it is alleged that a taxi driver gave misguided, malicious information about the gardens to tourists. The taxi driver reportedly told a some tourists that they would enjoy themselves more if they visited Hunte’s Gardens, which is 15 minutes away.

Manager of the Gardens, Anna-Lisa Alleyne, told Loop that she would appreciate if the business would receive more support locally. This lack of support is not only from local residents but other local businesses. Alleyne, and other employees, have been reaching out to hotels and taxi services to foster a relationship with them to attract more tourists to the site but they have been unsuccessful in doing so. She extended her gratitude to the Sandy Lane Hotel who have been their only hotel support system.

The manager is in high hopes of the wonders of Andromeda Gardens being shared with everyone on the island. She is aware that the gardens are not well known, but she is hoping for more exposure. She is especially encouraging locals to visit the gardens. There are some days where their visitor count is extremely low and some days where there are no visitors.

Despite these ongoing issues, Alleyne is confident the Gardens will be sustainable enough to keep the business going. She described it as “keeping their head above the water”.

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