The best way to speak about the garden is to begin by sharing quotes of some visitors. “Its just magical.” “It’s a retreat.” “How do you stand living here? Its so peaceful”.
The garden is all of that and so much more. Carved in the hill side are terraces for walking and viewing the varied plants. The tour of the garden is 45 minutes to one hour, but visitors generally stay after the guided tour and spend time just looking at the plants and listening to the birds.
Stepping through the first arch is like stepping through a portal to another dimension. We have had some unique blooms in this past year. A rear black gladiola and a strange yellow gladiola, huge dahlias, giant begonias, coleus, and over 50 species of fern.
here are two fantasy gardens. A fairy’s village, between the roots of a huge tree we were forced to cut after Hurricane Ivan in 2003, is a teaching tool for student field trips. They use their imagination to write stories about life in the village. The other is a Dinosaur Era garden. This too is a teaching tool, used to teach about our impact on nature, make students aware about the endangered and extinct animals in Jamaica, and how the pet trade affects wildlife.
The garden also has its very own King Tut’s Falls, leading to the Koi Pond. You may even hold our turtles .
Island Dreams stopped by for an interview, please feel free to watch!
Jamaica has 28 endemic birds, 18 of which are found at Ahhh... In addition, we have migratory birds who arrive late September and depart in March. The garden has river stones painted with the birds seen on property with their scientific and local names for easy identification.
Jamaica’s National bird, the swallow tailed hummingbird (aka the Dr. Bird), is a resident of the garden and can be seen all year round. You may even have a chance to feed the hummingbirds if you arrive near feeding time in the mornings. The birds are visible throughout the day, however the best times for birding are mornings and late evenings, between the hours of 6am-10 am and 4 pm to sunset. We have affectionately called Ahhh... the bird fly zone as they dart between guests with no fear.
The Outpost Juice Bar sits above the artist's studio. It is the meeting area for orientation of all guests where the history of the property in introduced. It’s a juice bar, however Red Stripe and Heineken beers are sold in addition to bottled water. The panoramic view is seen throughout the property but your first appreciation of the view is at the Outpost.
The garden is visible from the Outpost as it entices one to take the tour to discover all the wonders of Ahhh... It is covered with aluminum which makes it the perfect place to hear the rain when it falls and watch the city as the rain clouds blocks out the view of the city below. It’s the perfect place to observe a rainbow after it rains.
All paintings in the gallery are for sale. The medium is acrylic on canvas. Paintings reflect the vibrant colors of the island. One section is of Jamaica’s flora and fauna, birders will enjoy paintings of our endemic birds and plant life that have been presented in the gallery. The other section has paintings of our people, culture, and pastimes.
Presently, Ras is working on a series of paintings titled “Glory Days”, memories of past Jamaica. Paintings range in sizes and prices to suit different tastes and wallets. Owning a painting from Ahhh… is a perfect way to take home a cherished piece of Jamaica, and have a special reminder of ones visit to Ahhh… All paintings come with a Certificate of Authenticity.
Mozegg is a unique craft using eggshells. As a teacher, Tamika experimented with making pictures with eggshells. Something safe for the children to use, and out of the ordinary. The result is a beautiful mosaic. An entire wall is dedicated to showing Tamika’s Mozeggs.
Mosaic is the art of using broken tiles, the name Mozeggs was born and is copyrighted to the Ahhh… Family. It’s a three dimensional work of art and a perfect conversation piece. Each Mozegg piece comes with a Certificate of Authenticity, as well.
The crafts sold at Ahhh… in the gift shop are all made on property. This helps provide further employment for the women in the community. Tamika instructs them in the making of dolls, placemats, jewelery, bags, and other small pieces.
There is a need for authentic Jamaican crafts because most of the items sold elsewhere on the island are made in China. One can purchase any of those in any island. However, with attention to detail, each piece is handmade on property and inspected by Tamika before being displayed in the gift shop for sale.
Ahhh... Treasures Gift Shop
Our gift shop is named Ahhh… Treasures because of the unique items found in it. Many of our visitors who come early in the year purchase items for Christmas gifts months ahead. It's more than a gift shop. It’s a continuation of the gallery with artistic gift items. Hand painted cushion covers, hand painted bags, hats, paper weights, and many more items.
Ayale’s addition to the gift shop is his assemblage of sea shells collected on the beach to make one-of-a-kind sea creatures. There is some treasure for every one to discover.