I am a very lucky girl! My husband has been posted to the island of Anguilla, in the British West Indies, to work in the Governor’s Office. Of course, I have gone too!
It is a tiny place; just sixteen miles long by three miles wide sitting at the top of the Leeward Caribbean chain. The island is perfectly summed up by its’ tourist slogan, ‘Tranquillity Wrapped in Blue,’ for it is truly a tranquil and beautiful place to live.
We live near a village called Island Harbour in the northeast of Anguilla. The principle industry here is fishing and colourful little boats are to be seen bobbing in the clear blue sea just off the sandy beach.
Our ‘road’, actually a rough dirt track, is called Sea Rocks and the houses, all perched atop the cliffs, have glorious sea views, stretching out over the Atlantic Ocean.
The house is a small villa painted white, enclosed with mesh fencing and has wooden gates to keep the local marauding goats from entering. These are all over the island and eat anything and everything they meet. The garden would not last long if they managed to get in!
The back of the house faces the road and the garden here is landscaped. I should point out that the ground on Anguilla is made of rock and coral, so building anything is difficult and to grow a garden needs great perseverance. We were lucky that when we arrived at the house the land had been sculpted into a peaceful and interesting garden. The landscaping has followed the natural contours of the land features and so cultivated areas are uneven and rocky. Shallow brick walls delineate garden areas from the car parking shingle.
All over the island Turk’s Head cacti grow abundantly. These cacti are squat and round, have green bases and large red protuberances. When they flower they are covered in tiny red flowers and the whole is a mass of fine prickles. They look impressive in the wild and are a fine addition to my Caribbean garden. This is true too of the baby Cholla cactus which I found recently beside a fossilized brain coral and which is now nearly twelve inches high. When mature it will grow, straight and proud, up to ten feet in height.
Frangipani is also found amongst the other planted flora. This tall, spindly plant with its delicate white, yellow centred flowers has the most heavenly scent but it must be treated with respect as the sap is poisonous.
In the spring the Spider Lilies peep out at visitors as they come through the main gates to the house. These are majestic plants which are about two feet in height and have delicate white blooms which, when viewed from above, look like spiders with a central body and six delicate legs. They wave in the breeze and appear to be giving permission to enter.
By the terrace is the Bougainvillea with a glorious riot of spectacular pink blooms which attract the Bananaquits. These are tiny birds, brightly coloured, with shrill little cries and a very sweet tooth.
My little piece of Anguilla is quiet and peaceful; a perfect place to write.