Gardens, Graciousness & Revolution
Gardens, Graciousness & Revolution
Painting by Sir Roland Richardson
About a decade ago while having drinks on the verandah of a home that a couple built on land I helped them purchase two years previously, we began to chat about gardens and gardening whereby the wife was quite concerned by the fact that water charges levied by the water department increased per gallon based on increased consumption–essentially a reversal of what might be considered “normal terms” whereby the more units you buy the less you pay per unit. She went on to say that the policies of the water department would drive away “middle class investors like us” with the caveat that her gardens were beautifying Anguilla and therefore should (in essence) be subsidized.
It was an interesting but in my opinion ungracious way of looking at water consumption on an island known to be dry and arid–in fact, when I first arrived on Anguilla in 1977, there wasn’t any sort of residential water distribution system in place as there only were private cisterns and public standpipes from which Anguillans could collect buckets of water for home use when rainfall wasn’t sufficient to keep their cisterns full. By minimizing pricing for the initial use of water, Anguilla attempted to make the water required for civility and sustainability available to all–by gradually increasing the price of water for additional usage, Anguilla attempted to ensure the economic viability of the water distribution system put in place over the last 40 years…quite fair it seems to me.
Concomitantly I was surprised by her belief that such nominal costs would drive away “middle class investors” as we were sitting on the verandah of a million dollar home, for (in truth) there aren’t any (or very few) “middle class investors” buying real estate on Anguilla as Anguilla is a high dollar destination. Interestingly, in my opinion, Anguilla has always been an island of wealth (if not of liquidity) which is a function of its being “dry and arid” as those negative qualities are the basis of Anguilla’s unique decentralized land ownership which is, in turn, a basis of Anguilla’s unique hospitality–Anguilla is a society of independent thought and tradition from necessity as well as from inclination…a necessity and inclination deriving from colonial days.
While the British plantocracy had come to Anguilla in the 1800’s to plant cash crops such as sugar, they quickly realized the island’s rainfall wasn’t adequate for the purpose–correspondingly those plantation owners gradually left Anguilla for greener fields, such as St Kitts. As historian Colville Petty wrote: “The island (Anguilla) had few natural resources, apart from its beaches, and suffered from severe droughts which had contributed to the early disappearance of the sugar industry which was never profitable.” Over time the land that the plantation owners left behind for the (eventual) Anguillans to farm became land owned by those (eventual) Anguillans giving rise to the decentralized land ownership for which Anguilla is remarkably unique–as such, God Bless “dry and arid”.
In addition, the evolution of divergent land ownership and agrarian economies (large estates on St Kitts vs. small farms on Anguilla) is also an underpinning of the Anguilla Revolution as (once again) confirmed by Colville when he wrote that the two islands were “separate and distinct” as “the one in Anguilla (was) egalitarian, and the other in St Kitts (was) stratified with a large proletarian class comprising mainly estate workers at the base” so that “the way in which the (St Kitts) Government utilized its resources was greatly influenced by the planters…and so, for a long time, [these resources] were used to the advantage of estate economic activity. Such activity in Anguilla was nil.”…not a formula for harmony and which ended in struggle and separation (intriguingly led by my late father-in-law, Ronald Webster).
With the above in mind, gardens and landscaping are beautiful accompaniments to any home–for those who may be interested in properties with beautiful gardens a number of examples would be Barnes Bay Estate as per https://prorealtyanguilla.com/property/amazing-villa-bay-front/ ; Villa Amarilla as per https://prorealtyanguilla.com/property/villa-amarilla/ ; Banana Breeze as per https://prorealtyanguilla.com/property/banana-breeze/ ; Topsy Turvey Treat as per https://prorealtyanguilla.com/property/topsy-turvey-treat/
Please let me know if you’d like additional information on any of the above–a pleasure to assist.
Scott L. Hauser, Director
ProRealty (Anguilla) Ltd
Office Phone: 264.498.0123