Janice Grant Taffe’s blooming oasis
Janice Grant Taffe is in full bloom as she basks in her green oasis. (Photos: Shorn Hector of LH Multimedia)

Janice Grant Taffe’s lush garden, nestled just above the heart of Jamaica’s metropolis, is a tranquil oasis for friends and family in need of a respite from the hustle and bustle of city living. The green utopia also serves as a place for the recently retired former general counsel and corporate secretary of Sagicor Group Jamaica to get lost in her own world and thoughts, and embrace patience, attentiveness, and renewal.

Her orchids are the main teachers of stick-to-itiveness and resilience, she shares with the Style Observer.

“Sometimes, an orchid will not bloom in so long that I forget what colour it is!” Grant Taffe admits as she leads the way around the garden that surrounds her home. “But I still care for them, talk with them lovingly (and sometimes not so lovingly) and wait until they’re ready, knowing that the magnificent blooms will someday come.”

The Manchester native has always loved gardening, she informs, but she started curating this space eight years ago when she moved to that home along with her husband Joe and daughter Jada-Rae. It wasn’t very long before her friends and colleagues started flocking her backyard terrace in the evenings. They dubbed the safe space The Lanai.

“When they come here, sometimes they don’t want to leave,” Grant Taffe says with a chuckle, “and that gives me joy.”

She perches on one of the bright yellow patio chairs that she uses for hosting company. The wind chime above her head plays a gentle melody, accompanied by the choir of nearby birds. “It’s a space that is full of life, and vibes, where we can come together and celebrate life,” she says.

As she shows off the mint, thyme, pepper and other edible shrubs in the herb section of her garden, Grant Taffe reflects on her mother who, although engaged in the public sector, found time to grow mint and other plants in large enough quantities in Manchester to supply commercial entities. It was from then that she knew she had inherited her mother’s green thumb and love for plants.

“I also like to add little trinkets to my garden — anything that brings me fond memories and joy,” she says, smiling as she touches a Christmas tree ornament hanging from a trellis. “Plants thrive on positivity and grow where there is love.”

The second lesson, attentiveness, is one that leads the legal luminary to constantly make changes in her garden. On her daily visits, she takes note of how a particular flower is thriving in a particular area and will move it around until she finds the spot where it is happiest. She explains this as she shows us her garden’s “naughty corner”.

“This is where all the bad plants go for a time out.” she points to the shaded area with a stand full of plants in rehabilitation. (It would seem orchids are quite the troublemakers, as they feature heavily there.) “Once they are doing well again, then they can go back into the open, but usually not in the same place.”

But not every plant makes it out of the correctional facility. The ones who don’t respond to resuscitation efforts teach Grant Taffe the third lesson — renewal.

“Like that bougainvillea,” she says, pointing at a stump. “It just wouldn’t come back, so I had to accept that its best days were behind it and ask the landscaper to cut it down.”

After a moment she adds: “The beauty is that this is still not the end. It will grow again, and we can start afresh.”

This flaming orange moth orchid is in fierce competition with the sun’s first rays. (Photos: Shorn Hector of LH Multimedia)
Grant Taffe’s oasis is home to bromelias aplenty, and their deep, nectar-filled centres are a hit with the bees. (Photos: Shorn Hector of LH Multimedia)
Vanda orchids love the light and are a sight to behold, adding their charm to this small window. (Photos: Shorn Hector of LH Multimedia)
This stunning purple orchid arrests the attention upon arrival at Grant Taffe’s home. (Photos: Shorn Hector of LH Multimedia)
Orchids reward Grant Taffe with breathtaking blooms in striking colours — but on their own time. (Photos: Shorn Hector of LH Multimedia)
Grant Taffe’s anthuriums quietly show off their Valentine blooms in the shade. (Photos: Shorn Hector of LH Multimedia)
A pineapple from Grant Taffe’s garden (Photos: Shorn Hector of LH Multimedia)
This area of the oasis was recently transformed to include different varieties of succulents and bromelias. (Photos: Shorn Hector of LH Multimedia)
Pink and red gingers not only give pretty blooms, but the lush, tall plants generate a gentle breeze that helps to cool the home, Grant Taffe says. (Photos: Shorn Hector of LH Multimedia)
These orchids are in the “naughty corner”, a cool, shaded area at the back of the garden where Grant Taffe reforms wayward plants. (Photos: Shorn Hector of LH Multimedia)
Seeds from the legal luminary’s kitchen are sown in this box until they are mature enough to be transposed to the herb garden. These tomato plants are well on their way. (Photos: Shorn Hector of LH Multimedia)
“The Lanai”, as Grant Taffe’s friends have named her garden, supplies many herbs and spices. If you time it right, you may even get some yams. (Photos: Shorn Hector of LH Multimedia)
This mint is the highlight of the most refreshing lemon spritzer you’ll ever have. (Photos: Shorn Hector of LH Multimedia)
The most frequent visitors to Grant Taffe’s oasis are her landscaper Bradley and her chihuahua-shih tzu mix Coco. (Photos: Shorn Hector of LH Multimedia)
The gardener inhales the freshness of one of the hibiscuses. (Photos: Shorn Hector of LH Multimedia)

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