In Search of My Grandmother’s Garden (A Visual Presentation)

A front steps container garden in Newtown, a neighbourhood in Roseau, Dominica.

This coming Monday I will be giving a presentation to the Parkdale Horticultural Society on my epic December/January 2009/2010 trip to the Caribbean. I’ve assembled a range of images from plants, to food, to some personal insights from all three of the islands we visited. There is a special emphasis on Dominica, in part because we were there the longest, because the island is especially important to me personally, and because it offers so much from a botanical point of view.

The montane/cloud forest (mid-high elevation). Dominica.

While most of Dominica is very rugged mountainous rainforest, it is an island of many microclimates. As a result, everything that grows elsewhere in the West Indies is grown somewhere on the island. You can never run out of plants to discover. I can’t wait to go back, but for now, putting this presentation together has offered me the chance to go back and re-experience it all through the thousands of photos I took. I even learned a few new things that I didn’t notice when I was there taking the photos!

A garden in the town of Delices, Dominica.

To make the presentation a total experience, I will also be bringing along some of the spices I brought back and serving West Indian fruit along with some of my homemadesorrel for everyone to taste.

As an aside, I’ve improved upon that recipe since I posted it. My newest recipe revision is the best yet. Dare I say, at the risk of gloating, the best I’ve ever had.

If you’re in Toronto and would like to come out, here are the details:

Monday, September 27, 2010
Parkdale Horticultural Society
Toronto, Canada
Bonar-Parkdale Presbyterian Church (250 Dunn Ave., just south of Queen St. West)
7:30 pm

In Search of My Grandmother’s Garden
In December 2009 Gayla set out on a journey through 3 Caribbean islands in search of her maternal roots, an understanding of her grandmother’s relationship to gardening, and ultimately answers to where her own deep need to garden comes from. Gayla has assembled a slideshow of horticultural gems and personal anecdotes gleaned from the trip.


Just a note that while I no longer have a place for events listings on this site, presentations, workshops, etc are still posted over here as the details are confirmed.

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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7 thoughts on “In Search of My Grandmother’s Garden (A Visual Presentation)

  1. Kelly: I wish you could come, too. Unfortunately, hort groups don’t record these things and it would be done in the dark so hard to video anyways. Come to think of it, of all of the presentations I have done over the years I can only think of 2 instances where it was documented.

  2. Your trip sounds really interesting, Gayla. Will definitely try and make it there tonight. My boyfriend is one of the directors on the show ‘Ancestors in the Attic’ on History. Going on a journey to discover your ancestors can be a truly magical thing.

  3. Lemongrass: Do you mean in the Caribbean? I’ve been told that Dominica is more like what the West Indies used to be… a bit of a trip back in time.

  4. If you somehow manage to find the time, please consider making the presentation online in a PP format. I’d love to see some more of your pics from Dominica.

  5. Mr. Brown Thumb: I don’t do my presentations in Power Point so I can’t do that. I will roll more out at some point. I decided to stop posting because I worried people were bored with the topic. I’ve posted lots of non-botanical images here and am continuing to do that pretty regularly.

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