The Haitian Institute
1804 Memory Garden:
Reforestation and Economic Revitalization Project

What is the “1804 Memory Garden” Project?

 The “1804 Memory Garden” project is a comprehensive concept that encompasses historical, cultural, economic and environmental objectives.  Its mission is to provide public education, offer horticultural displays and conduct applied botanical research.   The garden will include 15 acres of spectacular grounds located in the hills above Arcahaie, the city where the Haitian flag, symbol of Haitian unity, was founded some 200 years ago by Jean-Jacques Dessalines and Alexandre Pétion. 

Why a Garden?

 It is a well-known fact that Haiti suffers from severe deforestation, erosion and desertification...  Teaching through example, the Garden will demonstrate that the mountains around the region – and throughout Haiti – can be reclaimed and made green again.

Trees have always been an essential part of the history of Haiti and have played an important role in the formation of the ethos of the Haitian people.  It was in the forests of Kiskeya (Taino Indian name of Haiti) that the Taino Indian chief Kacik Henry took refuge as he fled from Spanish oppression.  In the 18th century, African captives found shelter in the tree-covered mountains of Saint Domingue; and it was at Kayman Woods that the maroon chief, Bookman Duty, initiated the great northern revolt that led to Haiti’s independence on January 1st 1804.  Trees were so important for the ancestors of the Haitian nation that they placed the image of a palm tree in the very center of Haiti’s flag.  Yet, for various reasons,  many of the trees and other flora have disappeared from the Haitian landscape.  If the land is to bloom again, we need to begin the process.  “If not us, then who?  If not now, when?”

Where will the Garden be located?

The Garden will be built on 5 carreaux (about 15 acres) of land on a hill just above the city of Arcahaie, overlooking the Caribbean Sea.  




Monument to the Haitian Flag in Arcahaie
 

Site of 1804 Memory Garden

 

What will the Garden include?

The Garden will consist of a Visitors Center, a Conservatory, and an Education and Library Complex.  Meandering pathways, lined with blossoming bushes, will take visitors to specific sites in the garden where commemorating monuments to the heroes and “sheroes” of Haiti’s independence will be erected.  A progression of smaller garden "rooms," will compose the Central Garden and will feature intimate spaces where several themes will be developed.  There, the visitors will appreciate the ”Anakaona Garden”, in memory of the Indian samba and queen Anakaona, renown for her intelligence and her beauty; the ”Africa Garden” composed of plants and flowers found in Africa and in Haiti and which will be developed in memory of the Africans who survived the Atlantic crossing and the hell of colonial Saint Domingue’s plantations and factories, to rise up as man to claim their freedom, the “Bicolor Garden”, with its blue and red flowers,  will symbolize the colors of the Haitian flag, the “Ancestral Garden”  in memory of Haiti’s admirable forefathers: Toussaint Louverture, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Henry Christophe, Alexandre Pétion”, and “The Women of the 1804 Revolution Garden”  where the likes of Catherine Flon, Marie-Jeanne, Empress Antoinette Dessalines, will be memorialized.  As the Garden progresses, other “theme gardens” will be added to this group so as to illustrate the progression of Haitian history and culture. 

The visitor strolling through the Garden’s paths, or descending or ascending its terraces will come upon other areas filled with delightful surprises, and he will be able to feast his eyes on the beauty springing from the very soil of Haiti.  In the shady groves of the garden, sitting on a bench, under the flowering trees, he will meditate on Haiti’s past and present and will regain faith in Haiti’s possible future.

How will the Garden benefit Haiti?

 Education:  The Education and Library complex will be built in the heart of the 1804 Memory Garden where cultural activities and workshops on gardening, erosion control, soil regeneration, soil conservation and plant propagation will be organized. Permanent exhibits on Haiti’s flora will be displayed within this complex.  A plant conservatory dedicated to the study and propagation of Haiti’s rare plants varieties as well as utilitarian and medicinal specimen will also be developed.

Social Consciousness:  On a social level, the 1804 Memory Garden, through its workshops and hands on programs will teach farmers in the areas, technique of water conservation and management, soil conservation and erosion control, and will develop vocational training activities so as to improve employment prospects in the area.   Tourism:  The 1804 Memory Garden will also stand as a place of reverence and pilgrimage to which the children of Toussaint, Dessalines, Pétion, Christophe, the forefathers of the Haitian Nation, will travel to commemorate those men and women who gave their lives so that the Africans and creole blacks of Saint Domingue (Haiti) might have a country of their own.  The Garden’s location will make it an easy destination for tourists in Port-au-Prince and for those staying at the hotels along the Côte des Arcadins.

How you can help

Make a financial contribution

In order to pursue work on the 1804 Memory Garden, we need the support of everyone – Haitians, Haitian-American, friends and lovers of Haiti.  We welcome all donations.  No amount is too small. 

 



 Make the mountains
green again. Support 
The 1804
Memory Garden.



Planting at the Garden Site