The garden was created from the 1950s as a private botanical and pleasure garden around the home of Iris Bannochie and her first husband, Dr Harry Bayley, and is a collection of different plants from many tropical and sub-tropical locations, either collected by Iris herself, or given to her as gifts.
1950’s Barbados was a land covered with sugar cane with no history of garden creation. Yet incredibly, Iris created a botanical landscape. She was a self-taught scientist, plant collector and gardener. She also planted trees and these make it seem as if the garden has been here forever. Iris created a landscape, one that seems very natural yet is completely woman-made.
Andromeda was first opened to the public during a fund raising event hosted by the Barbados Horticultural Society (which she helped found) in the 1970s, and was subsequently bequeathed by Iris to the Barbados National Trust in 1988 so that her legacy could live on and be enjoyed by visitors from within Barbados and around the globe. In 2016 it became a Partner Garden of the UK Royal Horticultural Society, the only garden with such a status in the West Indies, and in October 2019 the garden received the Botanical Treasure Award from the Biological Education and Research Programme, in recognition of its biological diversity.
Iris, herself, was born in Grenada in 1914 of Barbadian parents and, apart from her early childhood, lived all her life in Barbados. She married Harry Bayley in 1935 and worked very closely with him building the Bayley Diagnostic Clinic and taking on the roles of Hospital Administrator and Laboratory Technologist. Iris’s research included Bush Teas in Barbados and the vitamin C content of the Barbadian cherry, both of which are still quoted and referred to. Iris was also a founding member of the Barbados National Trust, Chairman of the Parks and Beaches Commission and for many years President of the Barbados Orchid Circle and the Barbados Horticultural Society. Harry Bayley died suddenly in 1958, and in 1964 Iris married John Bannochie. She was awarded the Veitch Memorial Medal, in 1977, by the Royal Horticultural Society for her contribution to tropical horticulture, and led the BHS in repeatedly winning gold and silver medals at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. But in the summer of 1988 she suffered a stroke and died shortly afterwards, aged 73.
The gardens are still owned by the Barbados National Trust but since 2014 have been leased to and managed by Passiflora, which is run by Sharon Cooke.
Forming the heart of our logo – Heliconia stricta ‘Iris Bannochie’