The Retreat, located on Village Road in Nassau, is one of three gardens in the area and features rare and exotic species of palms, cycads, native hardwoods, and flowering trees in eleven acres of beautiful woodland. It has one of the oldest private palm collections with 170 rare and exotic palms representing more than half of all known palm genera. The area was originally the home of a colonial civil servant, Arthur and his wife Margaret Langlois, but is now run by the Bahamas National Trust.
A lovely and unusual leaf gate suggest the vegetation within:
The first stop should be the information office.
Inside the office, you can pick up a free flyer with a map of the garden that will help you navigate through the jungle like vegetation.
Walkways allow you to move freely through the lush vegetation.
An old dilapidated pergola adds atmosphere and interest.
A sitting area across a little bridge provides a quiet and restful spot to enjoy the garden.
A picnic area attracts visitors with its offer of shade and tables.
You will find some wonderful plants such as this staghorned fern:
Another very large and picturesque plant is this bird’s nest fern.
Not so large, but still lovely with its delicate beauty is maiden hair fern
Many of the plants are labeled such as this ruffled fan palm (Licuala grandis), a small, slow growing palm that needs shade and protection from damaging winds.
Rare and exotic palms include bamboo palm (Chamaedprea seifrizii) from Mexico considered an endangered species.
Some of the trees have interesting bark such as this horseflesh tree (Lysiloma sabicu).
The great success of the garden in growing these exotic specimens lies in the unique way they are planted. The palms are planted in sinkholes among other trees where there is a natural supply of water, organic matter and nutrients from fallen leaves.
Many interesting birds are found in The Retreat including white crowned pigeon (Columbina leucocephala), Common ground dove (Columbina passerina), Caribbean dove (Leptotila jamaicensis), Bahama woodstar (Calliphlox evelynae), Cresent eyed PeWee (Contopus caribaeus), La Sagra’s flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus), red legged thrush (Tardus plumbeus), northern mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos), Bahama mockingbird (Mimus gundlachi), thick-billed vireo (Vireo crassirostris), Bananaquite (Coereba flaveola), Cuban grassquit (Tiaris canora ), Black faced grassquite (Tiaris bicolor), Greater Antillean Bullfinch (Loxigilla violacea), western stripe headed tananger (Spindalis zena), gray kingbird (Tyrannus dominicensis), Cape May warbler (Dendroica tigrina), black throated blue warbler, (Dendroica caerulescens), palm warbler (Dendroica palmarum), ovenbird (Dendroica palmarum), black and white warbler (Mniotilta varia), and American redstart (Setophaga ruticilla).
The Retreat is a very pleasant garden to visit, especially on a hot day. It provides a large varieties of plants in a peaceful and beautiful setting and encourages you to stay a while and enjoy what it has to offer.