Poet, Playwright, Workshop Facilitator
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Kelly's News BLOG

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Kelly's News Blog

A Visit to Jardin de Balata, Martinique

Thanks to my friend, Karin Stanley, for taking this photo of me during our visit

Thanks to my friend, Karin Stanley, for taking this photo of me during our visit

A slideshow of my visit to Le Jardin de Balata, Fort-de-France, Martinique

Usually, I'm afraid of heights. I'm not a fan of crossing bridges. When I was a child I would crouch on the backseat of the car if we needed to cross a high one on a family trip. The first terror I remember, a drive from Maine to Cape Breton Island along the Cabot trail.

As an adult, I've learned to keep my eyes entirely open crossing the Bourne Bridge to get to Cape Cod. But, even ten to fifteen years ago, on trips to New Mexico and Corsica with my young children, I ducked my head and trembled and moaned with misery driving on the edges of cliffs on skinny, mountainous roads. But, On Monday, March 26, 2018, when we visited the the Jardin de Balata in Martinique, it was the Robinson Crusoe-like hanging bridge in the mahogany trees, La Balade Dans Les Arbres – "A unique walk to the top of a Botanical Garden" – that gave me the most thrilling, satisfying experience of my Caribbean island stay. I was eager to climb and circle the garden from above, and thoroughly enjoyed bouncing along, stopping to appreciate stunning views of the garden, the sea, the mountains, the sky.

We visited the famed garden on a warm, overcast, sometimes rainy day, very pleasant under the lush, exquisitely planned garden. Once or twice we ran under shelters to stay dry during a downpour.  

All paradises are gardens, thus it is not surprising that the magic of the place feeds the visitors with unexpected feelings.

Once upon the year 1982, Jean-Philippe Thoze, horticulturist, landscape designer and poet comes back on the trail of his childhood, in the Creole house of his grandparents. From then was born his passion for botanicals which will lead him worldwide.
The Garden built around this typical creole house is the result of a perfect alchemy between a «back-to-childhood» experience and a one-of-a-kind artist.
— Le Jardin de Balata

Here is a slideshow, pictures in no particular order, of my favorite sights in the garden. Not pictured here, the way I felt –my skin, my spirit, cleansed, refreshed, hopeful, and the tremendous awe I felt at the way plants and trees share the comfort and strength, breathtaking beauty, the zest and joy of their existence.

All photos and text copyright Kelly DuMar 2018, unless otherwise attributed