Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wilson Botanical Garden

Since we had to leave Panama for a few days because of our tourist status, we decided to spend two days at the Wilson Botanical Garden near San Vito, Costa Rica. Robert and Catherine Wilson collected tropical plants from the world over (after a failed attempt to get their tropical plant export business off the ground), and their Garden is heaven for anyone who is tropical plant-enthused. My head was nearly spinning as we walked around there - although I tried, it was impossible to take it all in, plus keep birding, look at the butterflies, and avoid tripping over the baby Agoutis. Palms, cycads, cacti, bromeliads, gingers, begonias, orchids - it was total overload. I've been doing some landscaping in our yard, and I wanted to take one of each from this magnificent Garden home with me. But I knew Customs would not approve.

One field trip within the grounds was included as part of the price of the room. Our guide was an impressive young woman named Ariadna (again, sorry - we did not get her last name.) We asked if she had a special area of interest, and she said she considers herself a generalist. She really knows her stuff - she can identify all the birds by sight and sound, give short (and probably long - there wasn't time) interesting talks on biodiversity, the history of the Wilsons and their Garden, she knows the trees and other plants, what the Agoutis like to eat, she explained the losses incurred when a rainforest tree is felled (it's a whole universe up there, not just a hunk of timber), and additionally, she is a fun, energetic, positive, interesting human being.

Here is a slide show of a few plants that Marco shot:

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