No English Country Garden


told by Jack (visiting graduate from Cambridge University)

With my suitcase wheeling behind me, I walked up the path from the beach to the restaurant at Golfo Dulce Retreat as I was introduced to each of the family members in turn. It was a good thing I’d made an effort to learn names before arrival though; between the scenery and the dogs running to greet me my attention was somewhat distracted!

Amongst all of the surroundings, I was drawn to a row of pineapple plants bordering the path. I’d never really considered how they grow, but something about the image of that nearly ripe fruit sitting on its spiky throne still seems comical. Despite the impractical appearance though, it turns out that growing pineapples is very simple! There’s no need to plant and nurture seeds as the parent plant does this bit of the hard work for you; simply remove one of the many spiky green offshoots growing by the ripe fruit, or even its crown, and plant a couple of inches deep in soil. The sunny but wet nature of the rainforest will take care of the rest, and in a few months you’ll have another growing fruit!

Whilst the banana plants scattered around the property share the tropical appearance of the pineapple, they look considerably less strange! I’ve always imagined that harvesting bananas was a simple matter, not dissimilar to picking the apples from my grandma’s tree. I suppose I wasn’t far off, but then as a child I was never asked to finish by chopping down the apple tree! A single banana plant will only produce one bunch of fruit in its lifetime, so it’s important to remove the stem after harvesting to allow new plants to grow. This means a ladder to access the fruit hanging ten feet off the ground isn’t necessary: just cut through the stem with a machete and take the fruit once it’s fallen. A bit more adventurous than twisting an apple stem!

Having access to home grown fruits like these, papaya, starfruit and more means there’s always some sweet snacks available, and with luck even some freshly baked banana bread!

Simon Mezzanotte