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The Amazing Garden at the Heart of Meeru 
PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:49 pm Reply with quote
Humble Jim
Joined: 03 Jan 2005
Posts: 6186
Location: Leeds, UK
Practically everyone who has visited Meeru will have caught a glimpse of the "plantation" area in the middle of the island as they skirt by it either on foot or by buggy.

Many will have wondered just what goes on there, perhaps just causally, or perhaps more deeply...

In this posting I hope to shed some light on this lesser known corner of Meeru (lesser known to guests anyhow).

What follows is rather different to any sort of regular Trip Report, and doesn't involve the beach at all!

Nonetheless I hope you enjoy this little journey to the "heart" of Meeru Very Happy.

Pam and myself were privileged to be invited to a tour of this zone by Hassan our waiter who introduced us to Moosa who is the wizard head grower on the island.

I'd call Moosa as much a top agronomist as an economist - he has a total grasp of both subjects.

All the details of what it costs to produce vegetables and fruit by dollar / weight live in his head along with an astonishing grasp of the science of growing.

Moosa, like Hassan, is also quite simply a very fine gentleman too.



The first thing that strikes you is the Lemon Grass that is grown all along the sides of path ways.



The Lemon Grass is used in the kitchens - and appears in stalk form in invigorating drinks offered in the Spas - but it also has a powerful pest deterrence effect where it grows.

So it's a defence measure for other plants. Much as we might grow Marigolds in the UK next to tomatoes to keep beasties off those.



There's a lot of unfamiliar plants hereabouts; plants and fruits I'd not heard of all intermixed with the recognisable.



What was really odd though was seeing some plants I knew very well from my own garden in a setting like this.

"Odd" because I'd never imagined that such as Rosemary - above the pot in the picture below - would grow quite happily in the tropics!



That's Basil in the lower portion of the above picture by the way.

What Moosa also grows in some volume is Mint.

Below is how your Mojito Cocktail on Meeru starts out...Very Happy.



You may be interested to know that all the produce is consumed on the island by guests and staff members.



One food category that is highly popular with staff is the chillies. And the ultra powerful Scotch Bonnet in particular.

Probably their strength is also why they're grown in these "cages" Laughing .




A mere literal sniff of this was, shall we say, "startling" Shocked.

I don't think any of these end up in guest meals due to their strength.





Later, Pam found the longest bean in the world, or so it seemed. What sort of bean this is I don't recall. But long it certainly was...Razz



Not everything grows outside; there is a large greenhouse here. And there are some fascinating aspects to it, not least the fact that a lot of the growing happens in 3D thus maximising use of available space.

First off, consider this brilliant trickle fed system on a tall pyramid-like structure growing lettuce.

Remember this next time you see lettuce in the Maalan or Farivalhu restaurants. Salad on Meeru is as fresh as it can be Very Happy.



Such as cucumbers are grown under cover too. Below these young plants are set to climb and use the vertical dimension again too.



The lettuce trickle fed system was fascinating but Moosa has also set up a hydroponic system too.

Here, Bok choy is being grown in these pipes, note the efficient use of the vertical yet again. These are young plants.



And here, fully grown, i.e. table ready, Bok Choy is being harvested.



Periodically the water in the hydroponic system is replaced and the entire pipe system flushed and cleaned to prevent any chance of bacteriological build up.

One thing that amused me about this greenhouse. The cooling fan system . Yes, in a greenhouse, it looked crazy Laughing .



OK so it's really more about keeping air circulating rather than actual cooling but standing next to these did give a lot of heat relief to me personally!

One section of this big space is given over to kicking off seedlings.






Moosa makes his own compost and coconut coir is (not surprisingly) a key ingredient but it's only part of Moosa's "secret recipe".

Outside the greenhouse tall fruiting plants grow. Bananas of course, but also other less often seen things too.

For example, here be Betel Nuts.



And this is Star Fruit.



Finally, by the entrance to the greenhouse, you'll find two types of Bougainvillea flowers.

The white flowering variety below was carefully brought to Meeru as a stalk by Hassan our waiter from his home island.



Our profound thanks to Hassan and also Moosa for taking their time to show us this under appreciated aspect of Meeru.


Hope that was interesting / educational for you Cool .

HJ
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 7:09 am Reply with quote
camwil
Joined: 02 Apr 2012
Posts: 141
Thanks HJ brilliant insightful photos as usual I often wondered what was in the secret garden. You have found an unsung hero!
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 1:48 pm Reply with quote
Janster
Joined: 10 Dec 2010
Posts: 270
What a great insight into the hidden depths of Meeru. Thanks for sharing Jim.

Jan x
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:32 pm Reply with quote
Brucebear
Joined: 22 Jan 2014
Posts: 197
JH we visit the gardens and greenhouse every time we go and each and every time we have been welcomed by the gardeners. Your right about the fans they do give you a good blast of cool air..
Thank you for posting the photos we have made a couple of videos but have not posted them online. Mainly due to the music which is not royalty free but it’s only for personal use.

All the best Bruce and Karen

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:33 pm Reply with quote
Brucebear
Joined: 22 Jan 2014
Posts: 197
JH we visit the gardens and greenhouse every time we go and each and every time we have been welcomed by the gardeners. Your right about the fans they do give you a good blast of cool air..
Thank you for posting the photos we have made a couple of videos but have not posted them online. Mainly due to the music which is not royalty free but it’s only for personal use.

All the best Bruce and Karen

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:51 am Reply with quote
Colin & Jenny
Joined: 08 May 2008
Posts: 131
Location: Scotland
Wonderful pictures.

I remember seeing this on the ecology tour back in 2012.

Hopefully re-visit in 2019 Smile

Cheers

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Wow 
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:12 pm Reply with quote
Shanksy
Joined: 28 Jun 2007
Posts: 1417
Location: GLASGOW
Didn't know any of this was here....

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Meeru; October 2007, February 2015, May 2016, October 2017???
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 7:37 pm Reply with quote
soobs
Joined: 31 Oct 2004
Posts: 743
Location: Cheshire
We've just booked our June trip back to our home away from home as Meeru call it, I have lost track with how many visits we have done now but I am sure Meeru will now, it never fails to amaze me the facts they know about us and how they recognise us.
I didn't know about the greenhouses they look amazing I will make sure to fit a visit in June, what do we have to do ask at reception?

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Environmental Aspects 
PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:58 am Reply with quote
SCBDXB
Joined: 17 Sep 2015
Posts: 29
Location: Dubai
If you are interested in the environmental aspects, you can also ask the Ops Team for a tour of the water plant, recycling, power plant, sewerage works etc. More interesting than you might think. They are proud to show you their facilities. For a small island in a big ocean they are doing all they can to minimise the carbon footprint. Ask at the Repeaters Party when you chat to the Management Team. Cool Laughing

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Meeru blues ... counting down to 8 June 2018 Smile
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:08 pm Reply with quote
soobs
Joined: 31 Oct 2004
Posts: 743
Location: Cheshire
Good idea we are staying 13 nights this time not stayed that long since First Choice stopped the direct flights!!! the last couple of days we shall be ready for a bit of cultural information 10/11 days is when I start to get a little restless so they would be good things to do

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:49 pm Reply with quote
Humble Jim
Joined: 03 Jan 2005
Posts: 6186
Location: Leeds, UK
They are justly proud of both their reverse-osmosis desalination system and the high grade secondary water processing operation that produces the exceptional quality drinking water for the island.

Drinking water that is served in continually recycled glass bottles in the restaurants....glass bottles replacing what used to be an annual consumption -
and disposal problem - of many, many, hundreds of thousands of plastic water bottles.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:37 am Reply with quote
Casey Jones
Joined: 30 May 2008
Posts: 1460
Location: Cumbria
Indeed the disposal of all this plastic I believe was somewhat of a headace for Meeru (and other Islands). We are now seeing the benefits in its reduction due to glass bottled water that can be sterilised and reused reducing the use of throw away plastic bottles tremendously. With programmes like Planet Earth 2 highlighting the fact and shaming and educating goes someway to make people think and react that we cant treat our oceans etc like some great big garbage bin and the effects on our nature and wildlife that was shown in the programme.

Many thanks HJ for this little synopsis on the ‘behind the scenes’ at Meeru, don’t know how I missed it when you first posted it..very educational and somewhat amazing what can be done on a relatively small speck of land in such an isolated area.

Casey Cool

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 6:35 pm Reply with quote
JoanneLorna
Joined: 22 Jun 2010
Posts: 518
Location: stafford
Hi all
While we’re on the eco thread - try to not use/ reduce the use of plastic straws. Single use plastics ( like the water bottles/ straws) is seriously bad

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 6:38 pm Reply with quote
JoanneLorna
Joined: 22 Jun 2010
Posts: 518
Location: stafford
Hi all
While we’re on the eco thread - try to not use/ reduce the use of plastic straws. Single use plastics ( like the water bottles/ straws) is seriously bad

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The Amazing Garden at the Heart of Meeru 
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