Seen from the air, as one aerial photograph reveals, the grounds of Government House constitute a reassuringly green expanse, their 33 acres stretching down from Marsh Folly Road to the north shore. The lawns and gardens alone would be enough to create a gracious setting,
especially as they have become part of Bermuda’s community. The rose
gardens, famous for their Bermuda mystery roses, are cared for by the
Rose Society. More recently, Margaret Fergusson, wife of our present governor, has started a kitchen garden, with the aim of introducing children
from three local primary schools to the pleasures of gardening. “I got
the idea from Michelle Obama,” she says. “Everything grows so quickly
in Bermuda, it’s encouraging.” She also sees it as a means of exposing
the children to Bermuda’s social history—already they are planting the
famous Bermuda onions. Next year she hopes they will grow Easter lilies.
However, the tree collection, which includes avenues of palms, cedars
and frangipani, makes these grounds Bermuda’s first arboretum since
some of the trees at Government House date back to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Because many have been planted
by visiting royalty, presidents and dignitaries, they can be seen as living
signatures in an official visitor’s book and for that reason are valued for
their historical, as well as their botanical, significance.
Mrs. Margaret Fergusson oversees a project at
Government House to update the catalogue
of 150 trees valued for their historical
and botanical significance.
WRITTEN BY ELIZABETH JONES
Government House c. 1975