David Leeman - On Island Time

April 29, 2013 Meeting.

As the summer turns to fall, our intrepid traveler, David Leeman leaves Toronto Islands and heads south to the equally beautiful islands of the Caribbean, where he has become something of an expert. He will show us his favourite gardens in St. Lucia, Barbados and other island paradises.

Well, it’s that time of year again. No! I don’t mean that! If you haven’t already divided your perennials and potted up your donations to the best Plant Fair in the city, this isn’t a reminder. No, it’s time for snowbirds to re-acclimate to Toronto weather after their winter migration. Though he misses three or four of our meetings through the winter, our Hort’s ‘resident’ snowbird, David Leeman, always makes it back just in time to present on his winter ‘vacation’ before we go on summer hiatus. No doubt he’s having a hard time adjusting to the winter that seems to have lingered a little too long this year. Then there’s the lifestyle change: no more Sunday morning “Hike Barbados fun walks”, the three hour hikes through “some of the most beautiful and otherwise inaccessible parts of the island”. ( Gone are the fresh exotic fruits growing in the backyard, like golden apples. Nope, David’s now done with his winter of honing his mixology skills, natural weight loss plan, and laying down the best base tan a Torontonian could expect by April. So he’s back here and ready to share his lovely ‘winter project’ photos, as well as tales of pests, disease, and natural woes—all manner of adventures he manages to pack into a few short months as a reverse seasonal migrant worker.
David claims this winter’s work was particularly arduous—working long hours in the hot winter sun of the Caribbean, putting in a brand new garden from scratch. That was the most exciting part of the experience, he says, working with a blank slate—almost literally. Only, it wasn’t slate, but limestone, the bedrock beneath the shallow, “ugly, heavy clay soil” that made this a real challenge. Come out to hear and see all about the inventive ways David made it all work out, from his unconventional source of plant material to sleeping in flannel pajamas, and more!
- Maria Nunes
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