I rather enjoy visiting a botanical garden on my travels. Although far from a flora expert, a stroll through the landscaped displays of trees and flowers makes for a very pleasant few hours.
Here are my three favourites visited thus far.
Bogor, Indonesia (1997)
On the island of Java, a 60km train ride from Jakarta, Bogor is home to Indonesia’s premier botanical gardens.
It covers an area of 87 hectares (210 acres) and apparently contains 13,983 different kinds of trees and plants of various origin.
The geographic position of Bogor means it rains almost daily, even in the dry season, making it an advantageous location for the cultivation of tropical plants.
It was Founded in 1817 by the order of the government of the Dutch East Indies.
I must admit that I don’t remember loads apart from it containing a specimen of every tree in the Southern Hemisphere, that there were dozens of flying squirrels travelling from tree to tree and that being rare Western visitors, we were asked to pose for loads of photographs by giggling school children, and even had requests for autographs!
Unfortunately I have very few pictures either but I have shown what I have.
“We plumped for a ground floor room situated right in the lush and rather wild garden area, the hotel’s homage to the more orderly botanical gardens.
We were just settling down for the night, when something grabbed my attention. Dozens of flying ants swarming under the door and alighting to the moonlit ceiling.
Out of bed like a shot, I grabbed a towel and stuffed it into the door gap – no more could get in but what about the 200 or so uninvited guests that looked intent on spending the night?
A glance out of the window confirmed my fears – a thick black cloud of the blighters hovered, so for every one of the intruders that I could shoo out, another fifty or so friends & relatives would take their place – not an option.
I then had a moment of inspiration, turning on the bathroom light and turning off the bedroom one. Right to plan, every one of the critters made straight towards the artificial midnight sun.
I quickly slammed the door, stuck a plaster over the keyhole and eventually drifted off into a restless sleep once I had got rid of all thoughts of flying ants landing on me or worse flying into my open mouth!
When I awoke next morning needing the toilet, I immediately remembered the predicament. It was with some trepidation that I gingerly opened the bathroom door, having first peeled off the sticking plaster but not being able to spy any activity through the keyhole.
Expecting to be buzzed incessantly, I was surprised to find a pile of bodiless wings on the floor.
I looked up and there above the cistern, sat a very full and contented gecko. I am sure it even gave me a knowing wink!”
Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden, Mauritius (2007)
I remember these gardens very well and have a multitude of digital age photographs.
Situated in Pamplemousses (I love the fact that the place name means pineapple in French) on the stunning Indian Ocean island.
The gardens are stuffed with wonderful exhibits, accessed along a delightful network of paths.
The gardens are perhaps best known for the giant lily pads. My personal favourite though was the blood tree, so named for the red sap that trickles down its trunk.
Giant tortoises also wander around the grounds, seemingly constantly eating.
Feast your eyes on a sample of my photographs.
My most recent dalliance with overseas plant life was courtesy of Brazil’s party capital.
Rio’s gardens went to to the top of the tree as far as I was concerned. Beautifully landscaped grounds, interesting water features and some weird and wonderful plantlife, with the statue of Christ the Redeemer in view.