Every parish has them. These amazing ladies who are great with plants. They support church harvests all over the country, buying plants from other plant ladies. They are beautiful unsung heroes of our church; today we begin our plant lady series with the beautiful Annette Alleyne of Our Lady of Mt Carmel in Carapichaima.
The images tell the story of a well laid out garden filled with blooming roses, highly scented rosemary, bold and outstanding peppers and rose designed bromeliads. But what was even more beautiful than her well-manicured garden was seeing her heart sing praises to God, the Creator, through her love for plants.
Annette said, “God was a gardener. I remember Him walking in the garden and I see my planting as an extension of my relationship with God”. She started to smile as she said, “Every morning when I get up, the first thing I do is say my prayers then I move to my prayer room and then I come outside early in my garden and that is me bonding with God through the plants. It is meditative too”. Annette, a retired schoolteacher of Exchange RC School said, “For me, planting is saying that God is alive! You know what I think sometimes? What if you don’t plant this and it dies out, then the next generation would never know it, and that’s a piece of God’s creation that no one would know. It is our responsibility to keep it alive.”
When asked what’s her favourite plant, Annette’s eyes lit up. She almost shouts out in glee, “bromeliads”.
Her secret for growing them so beautifully? she responds, “My secret is simple. To grow anything, you have to put love. But what I love about the bromeliads is that you don’t have to be in them every day.” She giggled as she said, “the young ones are actually called pups”. Then she sobers and says, “And what I like most is that they will tell you when they are happy”.
What is her advice for young plant lovers on how to successfully grow your bromeliads? “It takes time. Like every profession, you will grow as you learn, try not to take on too many at a time and after a while you will learn what you love, and your own artistic nature would come out”.
The story of why Annette landscaped her garden with rich stone designs, all done by her, is intriguing. “The stone work came to me when I went to Israel. I could not believe it, and when I was in Israel, I saw that they didn’t put flowers on coffins but stones instead. It made me appreciate the sanctity of the stones. So I came back and started using stones for my designs”.
She continued, “I have a joke with my daughter, I tell her, whenever I feel sad, I buy a plant,” and she says, “Well you must be sad very often then”. I am like a plant addict at times; no matter what I am going through I think a plant can always make it better.
Her advice to young plant lovers: You must have patience, diligence and love and you must remember it is a God-given gift.
Is there a plant lady in your parish community that you would like to share with us? Take pictures and send us at firstname.lastname@example.org.