Every garden of any size in the tropics has to have one crucial element: a hammock.
Now, ideally the hammock should be strung between two large trees that provide not only support but shade. No big trees? A hammock on a portable base will do nicely because it can be moved from one piece of shade to another, depending on wind and time of day.
Personally, though, I prefer the stationary sort of hammock with its rope run through a piece of old
hose or tire so that it doesn’t cut into the bark of the tree. Never, ever, screw a metal pin into the tree. Found your trees, or at least your spot in the shade? Excellent. Now the hammock.
So many hammocks to choose from, and it’s all up to you. Bright colors or muted, ropey or flat, one person or two. Again, my personal choice is a one-person hammock with a nice flat weave that lets the air through. This is the tropics. Two people in one hammock and you get too warm too fast.
We have the perfect place for a hammock, the shade garden. There is a tiny unnamed stream flowing through it, dancing over the rocks: the perfect sound to lull you into a tranquil state after all that hard work in the garden and all the frustration of what grew and what did not. Frustration cannot follow you to the hammock. Now, just close your eyes and let me take you there.
You’ve been working in the sun. You’re hot and tired, and you head for the hammock. You stop off for lemonade or beer at the house then up a hill and down to the hammock.
Shake it once, just in case. Set your drink on that stump and ease your way into a nice restful position, head on a small pillow, ankles crossed. Sip the lemonade, take a deep breath and exhale slowly. Aaah.
Listen. No traffic noise, no barking dogs, just the soft music of the stream and the drone of an occasional insect. Not a mosquito in sight, but a blue morpho floats by, languid, sailing the breeze. And the breeze, ah yes, you worked hard on that breeze. The Gongora orchid has bloomed and the air is full of the scent of cloves tinged with the sweetness of roses. You sip the lemonade once more then pull your hat down over your face, close your eyes, and drift away…
. . . every gardener needs a hammock.