occupy the garden


Castleton Botanical Gardens 

The gardens at Castleton were established in 1862 to facilitate the relocation of the Bath Botanical Gardens, making it one of the oldest public botanical gardens in the western hemisphere. In just a few years after the move, the gardens at Castleton were the most richly stocked in the Caribbean, boasting over 180 species of palm and at least 400 specimens of other flora.

The garden occupies approximately 10 hectares of land in the cool, verdant hills of St Mary. It is divided by the main road to Junction with another end adjacent to a rocky riverbed where women from the village can sometimes be seen washing clothes in the small seasonal stream. Many of the trees and plants introduced to Jamaica were first planted here, most notably the Bombay mango, navel orange and tangerine. Other important exotic trees, palms and shrubs in the garden today include: Cestrum Nocturnum (Night Blooming Jasmine), Spathodea Campanulata (Nandi Flame), Litchi Chinensis (Chinese Guinep) and Sanchezia Nobilis (Hummingbird Fountain). The 15-acre gardens are open to the public, and Castleton is a popular picnic spot for Kingstonians eager for a break from the city. The Wag Water River flows through Castleton parallel to the botanical gardens, adding to the serenity and pristine beauty of the area.

Brown-throated Wattle-eye (Platysteria cyanea)

…also known as the Common Wattle-eye or Scarlet-spectacled Wattle-eye, the brown-throated wattle-eye is a species of wattle-eye (Platysteiridae) that is known to breed in west central and northeast tropical Africa. Brown-throated wattle-eyes are typically encountered in secondary forest and other wooded areas. They are even known to occupy gardens. Like other members of the family Platysteiridae, P. cyanea is insectivorous, foraging in small groups for a variety of insects and other invertebrates. 


Animalia-Chordata-Aves-Passeriformes-Platysteiridae-Platysteria-P. cyanea

Image: Tom Tarrant

one of my favorite things about facebook is that it has successfully recreated the state of the internet circa 1995, when there were two distinct classes of internet users: those on AOL, and everyone else.  those on AOL (now Facebook) believed firmly that AOL “was the internet” and used the terms interchangeably. everyone else was exasperated by this, but also grateful that grammy and pep-pep couldn’t escape the confines of AOL News frontpage, AIM, AOL chatrooms, and the spam-infested @aol.com email servers.

so many of my acquaintances over the age of about 35, give or take, even people I have known for years and in some cases was, or am, relatively close to, regularly ask me “what i;m doing” and “where i am” because it is inconceivable that anyone see internet that isnt curated by the Facebook entity.  that even storied, experienced tech industry people have been suckered into occupying a walled garden with everyone’s racist uncles is an astonishing thing to contemplate in this year of our lord 2014AD.


A garden must combine the poetic and be mysterious with a feeling of serenity and joy. Luis Barragan

Gertrude Jekyll created this garden in 1911 and it still creates wonderful color and scent every year.

The garden occupies the site of a vegetable patch which once provided the soldiers in the Castle with food. Gertrude’s combination of hardy annuals, colouful perennials and heritage vegetables provide a riot of color in the summer and a leafy, sheltered oasis all year round.

this is northumberland.

She had let the day pass, her time spent occupied on the gardens of the grounds. A job, which was a weird thin to admit having, but it put her soul at ease. It allowed her to dig her fingers into the soil, to perfect and practice skills long since forgotten. Besides, she couldn’t imagine the lives of this mansion’s vegetation in the hands of anyone other than her. It was on the third day she found herself among the cells once more, passing cage after cage in her leisurely pace. Each face she found inside was taken in, but none belonged to the boy she was specifically looking for. For a moment, she assumed him gone. Taken in by the hands of someone else in this house - and then.. there he was. Tucked away in the corner of his cell. Her feet slowed as she looked him over.

“ Feeling better? “


The Shops - Ch 4

Hello again guys!! As promised here’s the latest Chapter of The Shops. It’s a bit long, so bare with me. Oh, and also be on the look out for a little preview for another fic in the works. I believe there may be ONE final chapter to go, so a big thanks to each and every emu for their kind words. Word Count is at: 2,415. Hope you guys enjoy and let me know if you want to be added, taken off, or if I’ve forgotten you on this tag list:

@tinakegg, @i-dream-of-emus, @annemarieted, @flxwxry, @jackiewalsh2013, @milllott, @parisgirly93, @girl-looking-out-window, @lau-vm, @kneekeyta, @celestev31, @redprairielily, pink-royaute @justthegoodgirlsreject, @irish-girl-84 @voodoomarie, @rhi3915, @stinemarine, @leah030,    lifeainteasy-stopbeingafootnote, @bitchy-broken, @protectfinnnelson


Chapter 4 - You Could Have Called Before You Came Here, You Know!

    “You know,” Rae said, “When you offered to give me a lift, I sort of assumed you meant in a car.”

    “Yeah,” Finn agreed, “But trust me, this is a lot more exciting.”

    He put on his helmet and hopped on a black motorcycle. A Ducati, from what Rae was able to read on the side. He started it up and looked at Rae.

    “Come on,” he said pleadingly, “I promise you’ll be safe. Don’t be scared.”

    “I’m not scared,” Rae said defensively.

    “Well, come on, then,” he handed her the extra helmet hanging on the handlebar.

    She sighed and put in on. She got on the back, and only then realized she was going to have to wrap her arms around him.

    “Make sure to hold onto me tight,” Finn told her, as if he had been reading her mind.

    She nodded and secured her arms around his waist.  

    “Ready,” he asked with a look back at her.

    “Ready,” she sighed.

    Finn started up the motorcycle and soon they were pulling out of the parking lot.

    Rae kept her hands locked around Finn. She felt an on sense of security feeling his cool leather jacket and his soft shirt pressed against her fingertips. She felt an exhilarating rush against her as they speed through all the familiar streets. The heavy sound of the wind spread through her ears, and she could barely hear her own thoughts. It was exciting and peaceful at the same time. She couldn’t really say anything to Finn; could barely even think. The only thing she could do was focus on the road ahead of her.

    They reached a stoplight when he turned and asked her, “How you holding up?”

    “It’s great!” She yelled back

    “Ah, see,” she could barely even make out his eyes inside his mask but she could see them light up like they always did when he smiled, “I knew you’d like it!”

    When the light changed he revved up the engine slightly. Rae gripped his waist harder. She pressed her body closer to his and caught a whiff of some pretty decent cologne. She was beginning to enjoy being wrapped around him a little too much.

    They reached Rae’s apartment quickly. A little too quickly; Rae had to admit. They parked near her driveway and Finn helped her take off her helmet.

    “Okay,” he said as he took off his, “That wasn’t so bad, was it?”

    He ruffled his fringe as it had gotten a bit messy under the helmet. God, Rae thought to herself, even his helmet hair is sexy. Wait, she didn’t think of him as sexy. Did she? He turned to her with a smirk on his face. Ok, she thought, I do think of him as sexy.

    He helped her get off the motorcycle, and Rae wondered what was next.

    She fidgeted in her spot, “Hey,” she said, “Thanks for the ride. It really was great.”

    “No problem,” he smiled softly at her, “I’m glad you enjoyed it.”

    She turned slightly, and realized the lights to her apartment were off, and that Chloe’s car didn’t seem to be around.

    “Hey,” she said, “I don’t think my roommates home. You want to come in for a drink or something?”

    He chuckled and gave her a puzzled look.

     It was then she realized what she said, “Sorry,” she chuckled, “I didn’t mean it like that. It sounds like such a come on. Forget about it.”

    “Hey, wait,” Finn got off his bike, “Um, I could go for a cup of water. If – if it’s ok. You know. With you.”  

    He cleared his throat and scratched the back of his neck.  

    “Oh,” Rae said expectantly, “Great.”

    She lead him inside her apartment.  

    Rae noticed him glancing around the room. He walked up to one of the shelves and inspected her albums.

     "Nice records, Rae.“

    "Thanks,” she said proudly.

    “I’ve got some of these records, too. Except with some reggae.”

    “Reggae,” She said thoughtfully, “Hmm.. That might knock you down a few points.”


    “Yeah,” Rae nodded, “Didn’t you know? I grade people I know on a scale based on how good their music taste is. You know, a one would be like a Spice Girls fan, and a ten would be someone who is essentially like a divine spirit when it comes to good music. They just get it. Right now you’re maybe a seven? Eight?”  

    “Not too bad. And anyway, I can bring that up. I have time” He smirked at her.

    Rae coughed lightly and excused herself to get a couple glasses of water.

    “So,” he called out to her as she was in the kitchen, “How many points do you have?”

    “Um, I’m obviously eleven” she stated as she returned with the two drinks.

    “Of course,” he grinned at her, “Stupid question.”

    “It’s ok,” she grinned back at him, “You’re new. You’ll catch up.”

    They sat on the sofa, and quietly sipped their drinks.  

    “Hey,” Finn said after a while, “You mind if I take my jacket off? Getting kind of warm.”

    “Of course not. Go ahead.”

    He peeled his jacket off and Rae couldn’t help but skim over his tattoos. She found them less intimidating than she had at first; in fact, she had to admit she kind of liked them. A lot if she was being honest with herself.

    Suddenly Finn gave a small chuckle and she realized she must’ve been starring a bit too long.

    “Sorry,” she muttered, “That was rude.”

    “Still find them intimidating” he asked and she detected a hint of apprehensiveness in his voice.

    “No,” she said assuredly, “No, not at all. I was just thinking about something.”

    “What were you thinking about?”

    “Um,” she paused slightly, “I’ll tell you later.”

    He gave her a quizzical look but didn’t ask further, “So,” he said, “I’m kind of surprised you don’t have any plants here.”

    She smiled widely, “Come with me.”

    She got up and motioned for him to follow her. She lead him to her room and to the window.  

    “That’s quite a flower,” he said quietly.

    “Her name is Jasmine,” Rae beamed, “Jazz, after my baby sister. These are her favorite flowers.”

    “It’s a gorgeous color,” he said.

    He stuck out his hand, almost touching the flower, but just as he was reaching out he turned to Rae. She nodded her head in understanding and he gingerly and softly stroked the flower.

    “You have a real green thumb, Rae,” he said to her, “I’ve been wondering, what got you into flowers anyway?”

    “Oh, I don’t know,” she breathed, “Growing up I didn’t have many friends. I got bullied a lot actually. And after I got sick - ”

    “Sick,” he interjected, “What do you mean sick?”

    Rae hadn’t noticed what she had said, and now she was regretting it. Too soon, she thought to herself, I’m saying all of this too soon. He’s never going to like me now.

    She opened her mouth, but nothing came out.

    “Forget it,” he smiled softly at her, “I shouldn’t have asked. Besides, doesn’t matter anyway.”

    “It doesn’t?”

    “No,” he shook his head, “I mean, whatever happened took place in the past. I mean, you’re alright now, aren’t you?”

    She nodded, “Yeah, I’m alright now.”

    “All that matters is the now. You can tell me the rest if you ever feel comfortable.”

    “That’s quite an offer.”

    Finn shrugged and gave her a small smile.

    “Anyway,” she sighed, “After I got sick I needed something to occupy my time with. Gardening gave me a chance to go outside, gave me something to do, and it gave me something to look forward to. I mean, seeing my plants grow is always exciting, and I would always think to myself, hey, if I can keep these delicate things alive then maybe taking care of myself isn’t all that hard, either.”

    Finn didn’t say anything, but he placed his hand on her knee and squeezed lightly. She looked at him, and she was surprised by what she didn’t see. She had expected to see the same look of pity she always got from people when she told them about her past. It was rare to tell anyone, but it was always there nonetheless. But she didn’t see it on his face. He looked at her and she could tell he didn’t pity her, or think differently of her. She looked at his face and she could tell that what she told him didn’t change anything. He looked at her just as softly and as kindly as he had before. She was starting to think that Finn was a special kind of person. A type of special person you don’t see everyday.

    “So,” she said softly, “Now it’s your turn. What got you into tattoos?”

    He shrugged, “Don’t know really,” he said, “I mean, I didn’t have many friends either, to tell you the truth. Wasn’t a really good student. Really the only thing I liked doing was drawing and listening to music. Got so that I didn’t even want to draw just on paper. I started doing dumb doodles on my arms, knees, whatever exposed flesh I had. I even got my first tattoo at sixteen. After that I figured owning my own shop wouldn’t be much different, you know. I’d still get to hang around, draw and listen to records.”

   "So what made you get a lot? Do they all mean something to you?“

    "Some of them do,” he nodded, “Like this one.”  

    He pointed to the one with the number inside a heart at the base of his neck, “I got it after my grandma died. She and I were really close. And this one is my mom” he showed her drawing of the blonde lady in pink on his arm, “She left when I was really little. This picture is one of the few things I have of her. There are others like that. Tattoos that mean a lot to me, but I also have some that I got just cause I thought they’d be cool.”

    They eventually made their way back to the sofa, and things got quiet for a moment.

    “By the way,” Finn asked suddenly, “You sure you’re not intimidated by them anymore?”

    “Not even a bit,” she bit her lip, “Actually it’s kind of embarrassing. You remember when I said I had been thinking about something?”

    He nodded, “Yeah.”

    “Actually, I had been wondering what a tattoo would look like on me.”

    “Oh,” he said surprised, “Well, I know of a way to find out. You got any markers?”

    “In the hallway drawer.”

    He got up and quickly returned with all the markers in the drawer.

    “Ok,” he said, “Where would you like it?”

    She extended her right arm and placed her hand on her wrist.

    He gently grabbed her arm and reached for a marker, “Now don’t look,” he joked, “It’s going to be a surprise.”

    She looked up at the ceiling for a moment before looking down at him. She could see his eyes from under his fringe. His head was turned slightly and he stared at her arm intently, with the same look of focus and concentration she always saw from him whenever he was drawing. He bit his lip as he moved the marker around her wrist.

    “Hey,” she cleared her throat, “Can I ask you something?”

    Only then did he look up at her, “Go ahead.”

    “Why did you still come into the shop, you know, after that first time? I mean, after what I did?”

    “Oh, come on. It wasn’t that bad.”

    “I literally accused you of stealing.”

  “Yeah,” he laughed, “You did. But it wasn’t the first time that’s happened to me. And I kind of noticed you checking me out a little, so that helped” he smirked at her.

    “Oh, my God, you noticed that,” Rae groaned.

    “Yeah, actually wanted to stop by to introduce myself afterwards but I could never step inside. I probably paced around your shop a dozen times.”

    “Me, too. Wow, even after that first meeting, and embarrassing myself again and again, you still wanted to know me?”

    “Yeah,” he smiled, “What can I say? I like talking to you.”

    “I like talking to you, too.”

    As he continued drawing they sat there in content silence.

    “Ok,” he said quietly, “Done. Take a look.”

    She looked at her arm and gasped.

    “It’s – it’s Jazz.”

    Sure enough, sitting on her wrist was a rendition of the flower sitting in her room. The same vibrant pinkish color, the same long stems, the same beautiful shape was all on her arm.  

    “You like it?”

    “I love it. Thank you.”

    They smiled at each other for a moment while they subconsciously inched their way closer to each other. They paused just before they got to their lips but eventually Rae broke the space between them. Kissing him was exactly what she thought it would be: light, soft, and warm.  

    They were kissing when they heard the door opening.

    “Hey, Rae,” Chloe said as she walked into the living room, “Sorry I’m late. I went out with  - ”  

    She paused when she saw Finn sitting on the couch, “Oh, hello,” she said, “Sorry, didn’t realize there’d be company.”

    “I just dropped Rae off,” he quickly moved apart from Rae, “Actually I should be leaving.”

    He turned and said good bye to Rae. He headed out the door soon enough.

    After Finn was gone Rae turned to Chloe who had a mischievous smile on her face, “You could have called before you came here, you know!”