This chapter describes aspects of the socio-economic transformation of the island from a French colony producing sugar cane, coffee and other agricultural products to a contemporary tourism destination seeking to offer visitors immersion in the tropical gardens and landscapes that constitute central features of the island’s tourist offer. It explores features of recent theoretical discussions about landscape and garden symbolism especially those that have discussed the dual role and function of gardens: utilitarian, on the one hand, ‘contemplative’, on the other. The chapter argues that tropical islands are being cultivated as large contemplative gardens to represent - and to touristically evoke and renew - the moral underpinning of modernist conceptions of time and being. The format of contemplative gardens was frequently also used by newly emerging ruling classes to contest dominant world visions and forms of governance. In the same period, forms of gardening also seemed to have entered other political realms not explicitly referred to as gardens.