Grenada stand exhibitor Suzanne Gaywood
The Royal Horticultural society’s annual Chelsea Flower Show is always the hottest ticket in town. This year, tickets were sold out days before the show opened its doors to the general public on Tuesday, which always seems to leave unacquainted Londoners in a floral frenzy. Luckily, the only frantic dash I experienced was that of a patriotic Grenadian dodging the crowds for the tip of a Heliconia to point me in the right direction.
Oh and let me tell you, we did not disappoint. Among 100 other exhibitors, Grenada’s stand was all that and an Earl Grey tea with jam scones. Or should I say that full belly niceness of freshly baked bakes and saltfish with cocoa tea!
Although awarded a commendable silver-gilt medal, just like our treasured Kirani James going for an Olympic gold, Suzanne Gaywood and her team maintained the standard of previous gold-winning years, with a display of tropical flowers and spices grown in Grenada.
Each and every passer-by commented on the vivid display of our plant life, which fed my imagination as a child. Acalypha hispida also known as ‘cat tails’ to my six-year-old self, would double up as hair extensions twined into my ‘dodo plaits’ and I spent hours putting Mimosa pudica leaves to sleep as if they were my dolls in need of a midday nap.
Grenadian based Anthurium grower Fletcher Frank and Suzanne Gaywood displaying the Grenada/UK collaboration
Our distinctive display wasn’t the only thing attracting the crowds. It was also the proud warm Grenadian smiles of Suzanne Gaywood, the orchestrator of team RHS Chelsea Grenada, Fletcher Frank who specialises in growing striking Anthurium cut flowers, a hero of the soil Lance Sergeant Johnson Gideon Beharry VC, Mr. Joslyn Whiteman The High Commissioner for Grenada in the UK and our Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation Hon. Alexandra Otway-Noel.
Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation Hon. Alexandra Otway-Noel and Mr. Joslyn Whiteman The High Commissioner for Grenada in the UK give a speech alongside Suzanne Gaywood
After an encouraging ‘book your ticket and come see’ speech to guest, British media attendees and sponsors of the Grenada stand, the Minister informed me of the importance of being present at RHS Chelsea.
“Our flora is one of Grenada’s biggest attributes and Chelsea Flower Show is the best place to capture our target audience, who are people interested in the beauty of nature. There are thousands of people walking around, so having a Grenada stand gives us an opportunity to compete and show-off our beautiful flowers”, she added.
A group photo with the team and sponsors True Blue Bay Boutique Resort, Spice Island Beach Resort & Blue Horizons Garden Resort, Sandals LaSource Grenada, Mount Hartman Bay Estate and Mount Cinnamon Resort and Beach Club.
It was even more of a pleasure to meet Suzanne Gaywood in person, having interviewed her many moons ago for the 35th Grenadian Independence special of Everybody’s Caribbean magazine. She has been entrenched in the business of flower growing and exhibiting since the 80s. Even after all these years she still radiates with the excitement of a new-found love.
‘This display is reminiscent of my childhood playing in the rainforest of Grand Etang and on Grand Anse beach. And, of course I had to put Grenadian spices through the middle. I love it! I’m in my sixties now and like a child I’m still fascinated by the rich lush vegetation of Grenada and I love sharing it. It makes me more happy when visitor come back and tell me they flew to Grenada because of my stand”, she proudly informed me.
Below are a few pictures I took of our impressive display, if you manage to get your hands-on a ticket before the 24th May, then do pay Grenada stand a visit, if you don’t then I’ve been informed we will be returning bigger and better next year.
For more details on Chelsea Flower Show click here