The Nevis Botanical Gardens are situated on the Montpelier Estate overlooking Mount Nevis and the ocean. The land was purchased over 20 years ago from Nevisian Pancho Hanley by Tim Mosley, an Englishman and a lover of plants and gardening. He ensured that the land was terraced to accommodate a variety of palms and tropical plants and built the “Bunker House” with spectacular views of the Nevis mountain peak. Now renamed “The Garden House”, this partially underground home has a grass-covered roof that forms part of the Vine Gardens above.
In 2000, Robert Bartolomei, a horticulturalist who had been at the New York Botanical Garden, became the General Manager. The Gardens were busy with activities: visitors from the hotels, cruise ships and the other islands; landscaping and plant sales services; the hosting of regular events for establishments such as The Four Seasons Resort as well tours, weddings, corporate functions, local events and even some musical concerts.
When the Murphy’s left Nevis, the Botanical Gardens were only able to open sporadically and the Tea House was re-launched as a restaurant. In 2008, the Gardens were offered for sale and purchased by the Douglases and their associates to protect the Gardens from development solely as a real estate commercial enterprise and to ensure their continuation as a tranquil botanical oasis.
Nik and Christi, proprietors of the World Art and Antiques Gallery in Anguilla, spent an initial year learning about Nevis and the Gardens’ history. They have spent the last two years renovating the watercourses, Conservatory, buildings and the plantings to restore the Gardens to their original beauty.
The Gardens Today
The Nevis Botanical Gardens are now regularly open to visitors and for events. The original garden features remain and have been enhanced with the addition of new plantings and Asian sculptures, collected over many years by the Douglases, who are collectors of fine art and antiquities.
The Gardens are a member of Botanic Gardens Conservation International and now have beehives that support local bee populations and pollination for the provision of local honey. A team of support staff look after the Gardens, The Galleria Gift Shop, Oasis Bar & Restaurant, Events and Plant Sales.