JW Garden Maldives

A Day in the Life of the Herb Gardeners at JW Marriott Maldives

The JW Garden at JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa is not just a garden but a passion project born from the hard work and dedication of Mohamed Rilwan, the resort’s Laundry Manager and Abdullah Ibrahim the herb gardener. The duo played a crucial role in the development of the JW Garden. Together they cleared the area, designed the space, set up the infrastructure and grew the plants to create a lush and tranquil space on the island. Rilwan and Abdullah hope the garden inspires a deeper connection to nature.

JW Garden MaldivesFeatured Image: Rilwan and Abdullah at the entrance of JW Garden 

No day is the same in the life of an herb gardener. The day’s routine is ruled by the weather or the garden’s needs. However, most of the herb gardeners’ time is spent maintaining or improving the JW garden. Follow along for a typical day in the life of the herb gardeners at JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa.

7:30 am – 9.00 am – Morning checks 

Work starts early, before the sun’s rays are too strong. The garden is most beautiful with glistening morning dew.

The condition of the plants, soil, beds and trees are examined. We check for signs of any uninvited night time visitors.

Adbullah waters the entire garden manually. He plucks roots and weeds from the soil.

Abdullah Ibrahim JW Garden Featured Image: Abdullah watering the plants 

9:30 am – Briefing and Action Plan

The walk-through is followed by a debrief with the gardening team. Delegating the day’s tasks; cleaning the ground, spreading compost, collecting soil and building infrastructure.

One garden requires plenty of potassium. The trees are nourished with homemade organic compost.

The garden thrives on teamwork. Together, the ecosystem is observed to determine if any parts of the garden demand extra attention. Skills and knowledge are combined to nurture the garden.

JW Garden Maldives Featured Image: Harvesting githeyo mirus (Maldivian chilies) 

11:00 am – 12:30 pm – Visits 

The chefs visit the garden before lunch. Depending on the season, the chefs pick lettuce, tomatoes, radishes, bell peppers and Maldivian chillies.

The front office team also pays the garden a visit, collecting mint and basil for the signature mocktail served at the guest’s arrival. Guests are welcomed to the resort with a taste of the garden’s fragrant herbs.

After breakfast, guests often wander to the garden with curiosity. With a warm welcome, the garden tour begins with highlighting the special areas and crops.

Abdullah guides the harvest and collects the crops. He takes care to pick the vegetables in a way that promotes regrowth. After all the visits, the crops are counted in a daily report.

2:30 pm–3.30 pm – Compost and Infrastructure

After lunch, work on the garden’s infrastructure and production of compost begins.

The compost is mixed with sand and stored away in large pots. The engineering team lent a hand to make the pots.

JW Garden Maldives Featured Image: Rilwan inspecting the herbs 

4.30 pm–6.00 pm – Watering and Planting

As the midday heat subsides, new plants are planted. Recently cucumber, passionfruit, bitter gourd and sweet corn were added to the lush beds.

Before the day ends, Abdullah peruses the garden to see if any areas require extra water or care. The day’s progress is reviewed to prepare for tomorrow’s plan.

JW Garden Maldives Featured Image: Guests are invited to harvest crops at JW Garden 

The JW Garden was recently opened at JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa. The garden covers an area of 3600 square feet, growing 15 vegetables, 10 herbs and 5 fruits, with more to be planted in the coming year. The resort’s culinary menus are crafted with the fresh crops from the JW Garden in mind. The kids club program will add five new activities in the JW garden associated with the kids club pillars: culinary, activeness, and creativity. JW Gardens at JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts around the world are an ode to Alice Marriott’s love for gardening.

Olivia Persson
Olivia Persson is an Editor at Hotelier Maldives. The Swedish American writer moved to Maldives in 2020 and has written about the beautiful destination since.