The Hotel Bougainvillea is a relatively small, privately owned hotel in a suburb of San José in Santo Domingo near Santa Rosa in the Herdia province popular as a starting point for nature tours in Costa Rica. Part of the reason making this a popular choice is the affordable prices but the real selling point of the hotel is the 10 acre garden. It has been my experience that the most beautiful, varied and interesting gardens are created by a collector. While I never met the owner(s), this is truly a world class garden, with sculpture, mature local and special rare species from the surrounding countries and even an amazing rock collection. The rooms are typical of a Motel 6 but the restaurant is good, especially with local favorites and it has air conditioning. The Costa Rica National Gardening Association has given them an award as the best garden in Costa Rica. In this garden you can find small samples of the country’s crops, such as coffee, cocoa, bananas, pineapple and papaya. They have 22 types of bromeliads, 51 different orchids, 28 types of heliconia and 29 types of lilies among many other plants. Because it was winter, I only got to see a fraction of the garden in bloom but trust me, this is a garden you will want to visit.
In addition to orchids and water lilies, the greenhouse in the Wellington Botanic Gardens houses a number of interesting and beautiful displays. One of the things that surprised me was the wide variety of coleus plants. Prolific and wild in Hawai’i, the fragrant island Plumeria represents the standard lei of Aloha. Their subtle sweet fragrance is difficult to describe, such that we can only say it smells beautiful and symbolic of Hawai’i The colors of plumeria are commonly abundant in yellow, although during the summer we are frequently blessed with the rare pink plumeria. The rest of the post has some rare plants and some pretty ones.