Friday, February 1, 2013

Gardens and Hummingbirds

Like most modern metropolitan cities, Bogota and Medellin both have a botanical garden. In general I like visiting botanical gardens because they're usually beautiful and peaceful, they promote local environmental conservation and education, and often will have some type of exhibition on hand to give it a unique flare. This concept was no different in Colombia. In Bogota the garden is called Jardin Botanico Jose Celestino Mutis. We went on a cloudy weekday afternoon and it was perfect - cool and uncrowded.

It is large and lush and takes you on a mini-journey of the flora in the different regions of Colombia. Unfortunately I can't tell you the names of any of the species of flowers and plants that we saw (although I can make them up) but there were many orchids and other colorful flowers - a botanist's (or Georgia O'Keeffe's) dream.

Orquideus Ombreus (Not the real name so just play along here...)

*Flowereus Purple Rainus

*Petite Purpleus

*Hot Pinkus Roseus (Maybeus?)

*Mermaideus Tailus

Orquideus Polka-Dotus

*Orquideus Peepholeeus

*Oh, look! This is a Neoregelia Compacta

*Orquideus Orgyeus

*Orquideus Clitoris

*Yellow Bulbs

*Orange Hibiscus - Really...

*Orquideus Venus-Fly-Trapus

*Flora Butterflyus

*I DO know that we are standing under dark pink bougainvilleas in a greenhouse.

We also had the opportunity to hang out in the butterfly garden, which was an interesting experience. Before you entered the mariposario you had to read a list of rules that were posted by the entrance and then one of the employees would explain each rule a second time. Basically don't touch the butterflies, even if one lands on you, speak in a whisper, walk slowly, don't step on any butterflies on the ground, and check your clothing and the clothing of those in your party before leaving the butterfly garden. With all those rules to abide by it was a little stressful but we were able to pull it off with no accidental butterfly murders...whew. 

*Apparently butterflies love citrus.

*Notice the stiffness in Olguita's arm - she is frozen with the fear of causing involuntary butterflyslaughter.

*Just pulling a bird and drying my wings.

After inspecting all of our bodies for butterflies we walked to the vegetable garden that was being cultivated as part of the educational branch of the botanical garden. 

There was an emphasis on reducing waste and recycling demonstrated by the creative ways in which they planted some of their seeds, which should serve as an inspiration to us all to use what we've got.

*Old plastic soda bottles are cut in half and tied to the tops of heavy duty garbage bags, which are filled with dirt and seeds, resulting in a hanging garden, which is also a great way to garden in a small area.

*Dr. Seuss Plants (yeah, that's what I'm calling them) in an old tire used as a large planter.

*Flowers planted in the hollow trunk of a dead palm tree.

*Bean plants (I think?My dad will remember what this is...) using corn plants as natural trellises.

My favorite part of the entire garden were the hummingbird sculptures - all sixty-five of them - made by an artist from Ecuador, Nixon Cordova, that were being featured for two months until moving along on their botanical garden tour. Each bird was the same shape and size but painted completely different. The exhibit is called "Quito Jardin de Quindes" and it's objective is to bring collective awareness to communities about natural heritage along with the potential for tourism. If this exhibit comes to a botanical garden near you, you should definitely check it out.

There weren't any explanations on the hummingbirds as to what each one symbolizes so I guess the artist wanted it to be subjective.

 *This was my favorite.

*Latin America is obsessed with Homer; he's everywhere, like Jesus.

*This is probably a self-portrait of the artist.

See, botanical gardens aren't just nerdy - they're artistic and relaxing, even in a city of eight million people.

More tomorrow. And happy February 1st - Rabbit, Rabbit!


Anonymous said...

is there an encyclopedia for all of these clever flower names as i enjoyed this name game thoroughly. i shall do this next time im at a botanical garden :)

keep em coming!


Anonymous said...

I think I missed this posting when it came out. I love it!!! It's beautiful and funny.

Anonymous said...

You 'yellow bulbs' have their own popular name, Zeus' (or Apollo's) crib.