The search for exotic plants
June 14, 2015 • Costa Rica Spiritual Sanctuary
Alajuela & Arenal, Costa Rica. It’s that time of the year again when we head down to Costa Rica to work on the development of our spiritual sanctuary. Since it is the beginning of the rainy season our focus at this time of the year is always planting. Our vision is to one day have a botanical garden at our spiritual sanctuary.
Last year in June (2014) we planted 148 trees. That was a massive undertaking. Fortunately we had the help of my dear friend Tim Davies from West Australia, who runs an award winning landscaping company, to help us with it. At the end of that insane week of planting my wife made me promise that this year we would only plant 10 trees. I said ok but eventually negotiated her up to 30 trees. She agreed.
Cut to July 2015, present day, I head to San Jose a couple of days before my wife to visit the town of Alajuela to check out a few nurseries and growers I’ve heard about. I’m smitten by what I see. Plants galore. My next thing to figure out is how do I tell my wife that we now have 110 trees being shipped to our sanctuary to put in the ground. A pickle I figured I could talk myself out of.
I pick her up at the airport 2 days later and we make the long drive north to Arenal National Park, a place well worth visiting if you ever go to Costa Rica. I share with her on the drive about my plant explorations and purchases, and she just looks at me and shakes her head. Somehow she was not too surprised. After a restful night and waking up to a gorgeous view of Arenal Volcano (still active by the way) we go and meet the park officials whom we have been in touch with to acquire some plants from their gardens. They were very generous with us and most of the plants we were after were easily available in their gardens. One of the main plants we hoped to get here was the rainbow eucalyptus. It’s a gorgeous eucalyptus species with a colorful bark and we found many of its seedlings sprouting along the garden pathways making them easy to acquire. For some of the plants we were looking for however it required us to trek into the jungle led by one of the gardeners, search for them and dig them out. We were also able to get a couple varieties of the gorgeous torch ginger as well which I was very happy about.
It was a successful four days of acquiring plants in Alajuela and Arenal. I managed to get a lot of what I was looking for on this trip and the next phase of planting. Most of the trees we are putting fall under these four categories: flowering, spice, medicinal and fruit. Then of course there are the exotic ones too. Next stop is Nosara, where our spiritual sanctuary is located, and getting these plants in the ground. We’ll cover this in the next post.
Seven years ago my wife and I bought a piece of land in a little beach village called Nosara in northwestern Costa Rica. The vision, which I had prior to leaving my life as a Hindu monastic, was to create a Hindu spiritual sanctuary. We did not know where this place would be. We had…Read More
A very special thank you to my dear friend Nick Bloor who flew from the Gold Coast in Australia to come help with our Siva Ashram project in Costa Rica for the second time. I cannot even begin to express how grateful we are to this man for his immense contribution of knowledge, expertise and…Read More
Last week I got back from Costa Rica after having spent 9 days there working on the next phase of the development of our Siva Ashram project. The trip that we make this time of the year is primarily focused on planting trees as part of creating our botanical garden. I was very blessed to…Read More
In early June, I headed down to Siva Ashram by myself for a quick, five-day visit for Phase 4.2 of our landscaping. It was amazing to see how the grounds had gone from being almost completely brown in April when we were there during the dry season to being lush green in just two months.…Read More