Essence Fragile

We’ve finally had all of the film from our Caribbean trip developed and I now have the arduous task of scanning it all before the end of September (27th), when I will be giving a presentation, here in Toronto, of some of the botanical images.

I took this photo while on a tour of an organic farm in Bellvue Chopin — the one with the cute land turtles pictured here.

The plant is Polygala paniculata, also known as ‘Essence Fragile’ in Dominica. It’s a medicinal herb that is often added to baby’s bathwater as it is believed to help their bones “knit.”

The roots smell of fresh wintergreen!

You can see mountain in the background of this photo. Mountains are in the background of every photo I took in Dominica, unless I was facing the coast. Mountains, mountains everywhere. No matter where you are on the island, you are always going either up or down a steep hill. And it is always hot and incredibly humid. It made San Francisco seem like a cakewalk.

Imagine farming in 365 days-a-year heat and humidity, with access to few resources, weeds that NEVER stop growing, and all on steep hills, no less. I’ve seen mountainside, terraced farming once before (Agave in Oaxaca Mexico), but the logistics of farming in Dominica still came as a shock.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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