Thursday, February 8, 2018

Beautiful Bermuda

Last summer, I was approached via email by the president of the Bermuda Rose Society to be their guest at the society's annual luncheon (which was held last Friday).  I was told by friends that the Bermudians are warm and welcoming, and that their little country is a wonderland.  (Absolutely true, on both accounts!)  What follows is an attempt to share my trip with you.  

I left home in the dark last Thursday morning, heading for the Richmond airport.  Sunrise was glorious as I waited for my plane!

I flew from Richmond to Atlanta, then from Atlanta to Bermuda.  This was my first view of the country.

Hello, Bermuda!

My itinerary for the trip was packed full of commitments and garden visits.  First stop was to the Holmes's house, to see their garden and to make sure that my laptop would communicate with their projector for the next day's presentation.  (Always important to get technical matters out of the way as soon as possible.)  

"Peggy Martin"

Another "Peggy Martin"

Next stop, the home where I stayed during my visit.

View from the back veranda.

View from my room.

After I settled into my room, I had a delicious dinner with my hosts, George and Marijka ... after which we had drinks and talked till late into the evening.

Friday morning was relaxed ... breakfast, then preparing for my program during the luncheon.

We were greeted by this sign at the luncheon location.

Our menu.

The room was full!

The arrangement on my table featured 'Perle d'Or', 'Bermuda Yellow Mutabilis', and "Bermuda Windchimes"

It was a challenge to see the screen, because of the light in the room.  We made do.

My program was one of the most difficult that I have ever written, because I was asked to tell everyone at the luncheon about myself ... my history with roses, my garden, and the places where I volunteer.  As I struggled with this, all of the sudden I realized that I was introducing a foreign audience to my rose world in Virginia.  After I made this breakthrough, the program went together easily.

The rest of Friday was spent seeing the sights and visiting two gardens.

There were roses everywhere!  This 'Aggripina' was spilling over a wall in St. George.

Graveyard at St. Peter's Church in St. George.

'Archduke Charles' in the St. Peter's graveyard.

The Unfinished Church in St. George's.

(Forgive me from here on, because I was more focused on the gardeners and their gardens than I was on taking photographs.  There was even one garden where I didn't take a single photo.)

Michael and Michael's home.

View from the side veranda.

Entrance to their recently-completed Chinese garden.

The inside of the Chinese garden.

This Gnish was fabulous and perfectly placed.

Stairs to the upper garden.

Slat house full of wonderful plants!

This was the only photo I took at the second garden ... the beautiful harbor view.

Saturday morning, I was up and out early for a full day of garden visits.

Susan's home and garden.

Poinciana tree, which I was told has a spectacular display of red flowers later in the year.  It is lovely when it's leafless, too.

This is Sylvester.  He is a formerly-feral cat who adopted Susan as his human.  He follows her everywhere.

'Bermuda Yellow Mutabilis'

Jeanette's home and garden.

The yellow rose is an unknown rose that the Bermudians call "Elm Lodge".

'Aggripina' grows over the entry of Pene's home.

I was particularly taken by the graceful nature of "Bermuda's Kathleen"

She is gorgeous and I must add her to the garden this year ... as a memento of my wonderful whirlwind visit to her homeland.

Pene made a garden out of the quarry on their property, from which came the stone that was used to build their house in the 1800s.

"Elm Lodge"

Pene's house.

We stopped for a quick lunch at Pat's house (my morning chauffeur).

'Aggripina' again.

Distant ocean view from Pat's house.

After Pat's house, I was handed off to Felicity and Diana for the rest of the day.


Statue of Daphne in the Waterville garden.

Diana and me.  "Say Cheese"

'Mutabilis' is one of my favorite roses.

So lovely!

Hugh and Susan's garden, looking toward their home.

Same garden, looking away from the house.

Hugh is telling me about the roses.

Susan and I are talking about the huge Epiphyllum that is spilling over the wall.  (Mine is dinky.  I have to grow it in a pot so I can bring it inside during the winter.)

Hugh shows me how he decorates his wall with wonderful things he finds while diving.

January lilies, a form of Hippeastrum, were in full bloom.

Saturday night, the rose society hosted a dinner party.  I was very tired ... but excited to continue to get to know the wonderful society members.

Blurry selfie in my party outfit.

Sunday, last day, breakfast with my hosts was delicious.  Staying with them was a complete delightful, conversation was easy, and I truly enjoyed their company.  It was difficult to say good bye.

Quick snapshot of the aftermath.

Clare picked me up and went to see the rose society's propagation area at Tulo Valley.  Most of the roses on the island come from their rose sale each spring.

The last garden I visited was Peter's.

'Bermuda Yellow Mutabilis' in this garden, too.

Poinciana tree, overlooking the harbor.

From Peter's house, we went to Clare's house for lunch ... where I didn't take a single photo.  After that, it was time for me to go to the airport and head for home.

Beautiful blue sky.

Bye bye, Bermuda ... till next time.


  1. What a wonderful trip, Connie! I love Bermuda and St. George is very "old school" and moves at a much slower pace than other parts of the island like Hamilton. The people are so lovely and as you've shown, even in the off season the gardens are charming. So happy that you got this opportunity and that these folks in Bermuda got to hear about your amazing and endless work with roses!

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us!

    1. I was taken all over the island ... St. George, St. David, Smith's, Hamilton, Paget ... on and on. It was whirlwind and wonderful. I learned SO much. I will definitely return, and bring my husband with me this time.

    2. I'm so happy to hear all of that, Connie. Thrilled that you got to venture all over and so happy that you're planning to return with your hubby. The very first time we went my husband was in the Bermuda Ocean Race, a sailboat race from Annapolis to Bermuda. I flew from BWI and got there in less than 2 hours and it took him 4 days with his captain and fellow crew members to sail there. They were on 33-ft sailboat and came in third in their class. They had an uneventful trip down but hit a full gale going back and were fortunate and thankful to make it home after a harrowing time. Since then we've flown together to visit and always try to fly out of BWI or DCA because of the direct flights. We have so many wonderful stories of our trips to Bermuda and the truly amazing folks we've met there. I'm so glad you had such a great first visit. I know they were delighted to have you share your rose knowledge with them!


  2. What a wonderful trip. I've never wanted to go to Bermuda until now. Thanks for taking us along.

    1. Like you, I never thought that I wanted to go to Bermuda. I admit that I was more than a bit nervous about this trip. Nerves quickly faded, and I enjoyed every second.

  3. Connie, your photos show Bermuda in a way that I could not imagine before. The 3 books that the Bermuda Rose Society published are wonderful for the information on their roses. Your blog is the first overview of the gardens themselves that I have seen, they are very impressive in the way they fit in to the various locations. I hope to see "Elm Lodge" here at some point in the future. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    1. It was wonderful to go behind the walls and get to know the gardeners like this. The people are even more lovely than their gardens.

      "Elm Lodge" is a modern rose, ID unknown. It sure loves living Bermuda!

  4. Beautiful! We've been there a few times, absolutely love it. It looks chilly there right now - I forgot they do get seasonal cooler weather, although it's nothing like what we see on the East Coast.

    1. It was in the high 50's and low 60's, windy, with light rain on Saturday. Chilly, by Bermuda standards.

  5. What a lovely trip. Gorgeous roses and wonderful people!

    1. I had so much fun!! It was weird to be a guest of honor, but I loved it anyway. :)

  6. Wow! What an adventure and honor to be invited there. Just gorgeous...almost too much to take in! It looks like you enjoyed yourself thoroughly and I bet they were equally thrilled to have you there. xo Diana

    1. I was pretty gob-smacked when I received the invitation. Surely there were others who were more interesting. Turns out, I was recommended by one of the ladies who visited here last summer during the Heritage Rose Foundation conference. Everyone I came in contact with was completely lovely. It truly was the trip of a lifetime.

  7. Thanks for taking us with you! Such a charming place and people!

  8. Wow Connie! That was a really nice trip. The best way to visit a place is to stay with the local people, especially with people who are passionate about roses like you. I have heard that Bermuda is beautiful. Hopefully I will have a chance to visit it one day soon.

  9. Beautiful Bermuda indeed. I have has the please of visiting that lovely place and it’s people four times. Every moment is a happy memory. So glad for you! If I get to go again I will remember your photos and look in earnest for the roses.

  10. Thank you for sharing your wonderful trip... a warm, exotic country, beautiful gardens and lovey, kind people. Surely seems to be a trip of a lifetime!


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