16:03 PM

Discovering Dinah Veeris’ Garden Oasis In The Heart Of The ‘Desert Island’

Steve Bennett


You can’t imagine a person as special as Dinah Veeris, nor a tropical garden as uncommon as the one she’s personally carved out and nurtured in the heart of Curacao’s famously arid environs.

I met her last year in April while visiting the island as a guest of the Hyatt Regency Curacao, now the Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort. Actually, I met one of her fine homemade botanical products – a Laraha Scrub that made my first-ever manicure magnificent – well before I met the lady herself.

At the time, I, like most people, assumed that not much of anything useful (besides the laraha fruit used to make this sweet treat) grew on Curacao. After all, the island receives about 20 inches of rainfall per-year. Your typical desert, 10 inches or less.

So yeah, it’s plenty dry here, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a go at growing the same herbs, fruits, and vegetables found throughout the rest of the Caribbean. At least that’s what Dinah thought when she quit her teaching job back in the 80’s to pursue her dream.

To Dinah, progress and development were dealing a death blow to the old farming and herbal medicine traditions she had seen her mother practice during her childhood. She set about learning the ancient traditions from her mom and other local elders in Curacao, Aruba, and Bonaire over a period of five years. She then bought the modest one-acre parcel of land that would become her garden.

Read the full story, originally published in 2014, on uncommoncaribbean.com.