Botanic Park springs back to life

The Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park is blossoming this Spring and should be open to the public by the end of April.

The park, which underwent severe damage following the passage of Hurricane Ivan six months ago, has been closed for clean-up and renovations since then.

The park’s General Manager Andrew Guthrie explained that over the past six months a lot of trees and branches had to be removed along the pathways of the 65-acre park.

‘Any of these trees that could be stood up again were, but there were many broken branches that had to be removed.’

Many repairs were made to various structures including the shade structures in the nursery, the pergolas, the public restrooms in the Colour Garden and to the ticket booth at the entrance.

Of course lots of re-planting has been taking place also.

For the gardens, two shipping containers of plants had to be ordered from overseas. The first has arrived, explained Mr. Guthrie, and the second is coming in the next six weeks.

The park’s nursery has been fully running and it is currently selling plants to the public.

But it has not been just the gentle sounds of birds singing, water flowing and gardners at work that have been trickling through from the park these past few months. A recent wedding brought some welcome celebration back into the beautiful setting. With two more planned for before the park officially re-opens, there is the sense of a gradual welcoming back of people into the wonderful resource.

This, among the recent progress that has been made, is heartening for Mr. Guthrie and his staff.

‘For much of the time since the storm we’ve been cleaning up plants that we’ve been tending for 10 years. Trees that we had grown from seed were lying on the ground. However, now we’re seeing re-planting taking shape and the re-growth of plants and trees and it’s wonderful to see this happening,’ he said.

With almost the full staff of the park on clean-up duty over the past six months it is now looking glorious again.

‘We have not purposely made it look different. However, some places are a little different because the storm ended up opening new areas for landscaping, said Mr. Guthrie.

‘The pathways have stayed the same and the buildings have stayed the same, but we’ve been given the opportunity to fix some landscaping mistakes and to introduce some new plants.’

Mr. Guthrie added that much of the tree canopy is damaged however, so there is not as much shade in the park as there had been.

‘Parts of the park look like it did back in 1997 when it first opened because of some of the plants and trees being young, but other parts, people will find, are just the same.’

No official date has yet been set for re-opening.

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