I've been neglecting my phyto-friends, especially the palmophiles. I am notorious for subjecting my family to my search for interesting plants, as seen in this Spring Break trip to Dallas:
|From Dallas Spring Break 2012|
This entry is for my fellow plant lovers. As a re-cap, I flew to Belize and spent a few days on my favourite little Caribbean island, Caye Caulker. I've been to Caulker a dozen times or more and shared many pictures from La Isla Carinosa over the years:
|From Caye Caulker Dec 2010|
From Caye Caulker, I went inland to the Maya Mountains. Photographed wildlife endangered by poachers. The poachers are Xateros. Xateros sneak into Belize to harvest, illegally, the leaves of the beautiful Chameadorea spp. palms, or Xate' in Mayan. You can read a short xate' primer here: http://www.belizebotanic.org/xate.html
While in the forests to steal Chameadorea spp. fronds for the international florist trade, the xateros also steal macaw fledglings and shoot jaguars, tapirs and other precious wildlife to satisfy the international trade in wildlife resources. Yes, really: my passion for palms and for wildlife is connected in the forests of western Belize.
From the mountains of Belize, I flew to Costa Rica and ascended up steep roads to the famous cloud forests of Monteverde. There I had the opportunity to spend a week hiking the beautiful cloud forest with Willow, author and illustrator of Tropical Plants of Costa Rica (book descrition here: http://books.google.co.cr/books/about/Tropical_plants_of_Costa_Rica.html?hl=es&id=KyeDAAAACAAJ).
From Monteverde, I travelled to the Pacific coast province of Guancaste to spend time in the tropical dry forest. While here the past week I have enjoyed the landscape plantings and using Willow's book as my guide.
Today (Wednesday, June 6) I rented a bicycle to explore. Cost was US$10 from the hotel. Basic beach cruiser: 1 speed, pedal breaks. Nice basket up front for water and my camera. Off to explore!
I'll start with the familiar: Bizzie. Bismarckia palms are well-suited to tropical dry forests and are used to good landscape effect here. None terribly large, so this must be a relatively new plant choice here:
Here is another to show how Bizzie are used in a street planting in front of a house:
Commonly used palms also include Manilla palm, Adonidia or Veithchia. Here is one in a planter to block beach access on a side road:
By far the most commonly used landscape palm is Areca (Dypsis lutescens). No photos as I am now taking them for granted, like queen palms in the southern U.S. (there are also a few Queens here). Lovely palms, but I appreciate some creativity.
Other commonly used landscape palms are the Royal Palm (Roystonea) and triangle palms (also in Dypsis):
While the Royals have clearly been around a while, as evidenced by their stature, the triangles seem newer. Here is one of only a few I saw in flower:
Here is a typical resort scene to show the landscape style used locally:
Yes, those are Areca palms. So ubiquitous I don't even notice them any more.
I took these photos while riding the bicycle up and down the steep hills south of Coco, to Playa Ocotal and Bahia Pez Vella. Steep! I use the time spent walking the heavy bike up the steep hills to get inspriation for my own next lanscape project, my parent's beach house on the Oregon coast. Steep like these resorts. Wonderful view of sunsets over the Pacific ocean. Hours for ideas to run through my seat-soaked cranium....
I also take into mind the natural vegetation:
I love the volcanic black-sand beaches below cliffs with cacti and tropical dry forest trees! So cool, in a hot way.
While on the beaches, I also take in the tide pools:
Splashed by waves:
And having their own special plants and animals:
The marine life reminds me not to get too tired as I have diving to do the next day.
This unique piece of yard art also puts me in mind of that:
So I ride my bike back to the hotel, where the cat is waiting on me:
I devote the rest of the day to my online classes.