A sea grape woodland at Sea Grape House in Frank Sound features a delightful walkway that connects the front drive to the beach.
But to enhance the path, which becomes covered in the sea grape leaves, owners Graham and Janet Morse have installed stone steps made from rocks found around the property. They have also added rustic handrails.
“Graham and I have been living in Sea Grape House for 11 years now and we are no longer as young as we were when we moved in,” says Janet. “We were both finding it difficult to move up and down the slopes, particularly when the leaves were all wet. So, it was a natural progression for us to look into the steps.”
The walkway traverses an ironshore ridge that runs along part of Frank Sound.
“It is covered with wonderful sea grapes, which the parrots just love,” says Janet. “We have two pairs that visit us every afternoon at the moment.”
The sea grapes covered the whole 1.5 acres when the couple bought the plot. They then built the house in the middle, so the trees now cover half the garden, with many walkways to enjoy.
“The sunlight streaming through the trees onto them (the sea grape leaves), makes me think of the woods in England,” says Janet, who is originally from the UK.
The house was named in honour of the sea grapes on the property. Built to blend in with the natural environment, it was the winner of the 2011 Governor’s Award for Design & Construction Excellence in the Cayman Islands.
The stone-step path project was undertaken by the Morse’s gardener Michael Wright.
“The gardener had to blast out the ironshore to create the level ground. then he used rocks that we had around our property,” says Janet. “Quite a bit of it is coral.”
Many of the sea grapes, because of their age, have started to fall down in recent storms so Michael has been crowning them heavily.
Despite removing the lovely thick covering of tree branches (which will grow back), the benefit has been to let a lot more light into the area.
Janet has taken the opportunity to put in new plants sourced from Caribbean Blooms, including Clerodendrum myricoides Ugadense, Eranthemum pulchellum, Rivina humilis, Turnera vine and Lantana involucrata.
Although she has gardened since she was a child, this is Janet’s first time trying her green fingers in the Caribbean.
“I am finding it quite challenging being on the beach but great fun, too,” she says.”
Originally published in InsideOut magazine, Issue 38, Fall Winter 2020.