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A 100-year event in Barbados

Posted by Patricia Borns  January 27, 2012 07:17 AM

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Talipot palm.jpg Pack your bags! Haley's Comet is visible from earth once every 75 years, but the flowering of the Talipot palm in Barbados's Andromeda Gardens is a 100-year event. Thanks to local Patrick Watson for the photo of this fan palm beauty, whose stalk bearing a million clustered flowers is the largest of any plant in the world.

Andromeda Gardens clings to a hillside of Bathsheba in St. Joseph parish facing the aqua windward sea. Iris Bannochie started it with her husband John on eight 18th century acres of family land, returning from her world travels with seeds and seedlings in her pockets to which the customs authorities turned a blind eye. Perhaps the Talipot, a native of southern India, came to Barbados that way. The personal, often whimsical garden was bequeathed to the Barbados National Trust which Bannochie helped found. Basheba's other attractions -- the iconic Soup Bowl for surfers and long, golden Cattlewash beach -- are a breezy downhill walk from here. Across the road from the ocean you'll find Sea Side rum shop with a sociable crowd and wonderful cutters (sandwiches).

But you'll have to hurry. The Talipot blooms only once, then dies.

Andromeda Gardens
Admission: US $10
Phone: (246) 433-9261 or (246) 433-9384

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