A Trio of Central American Beauties: Hot House Queens from the Tropics . . .

March 26th, 2013 § 3

Heliconia vellerigera 'She Kong' ⓒ 2013 michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com JPGNative to the tropical Americas, Heliconia vellerigera’s (cultivar pictured: H. vellerigera ‘She Kong’), yellow blossoms are accented by  fuzzy, red bracts that remind me of the glamorous, fluffy shrugs worn by Hollywood starlets. An important food-source for hummingbirds, the Heliconias require constant moisture, warmth, partial to full sunlight and rich soil.

Flower gardening in the Great White North is a seasonal affair. Unless you have your own greenhouse or access to a large-scale conservatory, there are few flowers to be enjoyed in New England during the months of winter and very early spring. For a hortimaniac, it’s hard to live life without flowers. Like many northern gardeners, I suffer from zone envy and I often spend my snowy evenings fantasizing about a heated glasshouse and dreaming of all the exotic beauties I’d invite to my housewarming party.

In the meantime, there’s always travel. And over the past few weeks, I’ve been meeting some of my favorite, hot house beauty queens up close and personal, in their natural, tropical habitat at the Tree of Life Wildlife Rescue and Botanical Garden in Cahuita, Costa Rica (learn more about this special place in upcoming posts). Here are three of my favorite, hotties from the tropics; brilliantly colored plants I adore, and regularly visit in my dreams. But although they can be enjoyed outside during New England’s growing year, these tender lovelies must have a warm, moist  habitat year round. Large conservatories can grow large tropical plants without trouble, however most average, cold-climate homes can host only one or two. I can’t make a proper home for Heliconia or Etlingera , but the Crimson Passionflower Vine (Passiflora vitifolia), having long ago twined her way ’round my heart, will once again find a home at my front door this summer . . .

Pink Tulip Ginger (Nicolaia elatior) ⓒ 2013 michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.comjpg Native to Java, but cultivated throughout the tropics, Etlingera elatior or Nicolaia elatior (Pink Tulip Ginger) reminds me of the magical wands carried by good witches in fairytales. The torch gingers are large plants (up to 20′ tall) and require  ample space, moisture and sunlight.

Passiflora vitifolia (Crimson Passionflower Vine) ⓒ 2013 michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden Native to Central America and Northwestern South America, Passiflora vitifolia (Crimson Passionflower Vine) is a hummingbird favorite that blooms on and off throughout the growing year. A great choice for vertical garden spaces, this vine can grow 20′ or more and requires ample sun, moisture and a trellis, pergola or arbor for support. Northern gardeners can grow this beauty as a tender perennial in protected spaces, and bring her inside to a bright, warm, sunny room to overwinter. This may be the perfect tropical companion for tropical lovers in the great white north.

Photography and Text ⓒ Michaela Medina/The Gardener’s Eden. All images, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you! 

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Deep Forest: Exploring the Heart of Cahuita National Park, Costa Rica . . .

March 20th, 2013 § 2

Eyelash Viper, Cahuita National Park, Costa Rica ⓒ 2013 michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.comThis Eyelash Viper (Bothriechis schlegelii), is a mostly arboreal/nocturnal resident of Cahuita National Park, Costa Rica. Though its venom is highly toxic, this snake is non-aggressive and its bite is rarely fatal to humans. Still, I observed the colorful beauty from a distance and zoomed in with my camera for a close-up look. Learn more about this gorgeous snake at The Encyclopedia of Life, online here.

Happy Spring! We passed through the Vernal Equinox at precisely 7:02 A.M. (EDT) March 20, 2013 in the Northern Hemisphere today, but I’m celebrating the change of seasons in beautiful Costa Rica (on CST). This week’s adventures included a hike through Cahuita National Park, in the far southeastern corner of this Central American country. Located between 8 and 12 degrees north of the equator, Costa Rica’s climate is tropical. With stable temperatures year round, the seasons here are defined by rainfall. Currently, Costa Rica is in its dry season, however with many microclimates —defined mainly by geographic region and elevation— there are plenty of cool, moist rain forests to explore throughout the year. Having spent time in the northwestern part of Costa Rica last winter —see my previous posts here— this time we focused on the wildlife-rich, Caribbean side of the country.

Costa Rica is well-known throughout the world for its biodiversity and environmental awareness. Twenty-five percent of Costa Rican land is held by the national park system, which is where I’ve been spending most of my days. Although comparatively small, I found Cahuita National Park to be remarkably diverse. Snakes, lizards, frogs, spiders, birds, monkeys, coati, sloth and a wide variety of other animals are easy to spot in the early morning hours, even without the valuable assistance of a guide. Take a peek at just a few of the colorful, curious inhabitants I observed in Cahuita National Park!

Red-Eyed Tree Frog, Rainforest, Costa Rica ⓒ 2013 michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.comThe Red-Eyed Tree Frog (Agalychnis callidryas), perhaps the most famous resident of the Costa Rican rainforest, may look fierce but is non-venomous and completely harmless. Mostly nocturnal, this little fella startles would-be predators by flashing its bright red eyes and exposing its colorful toes. Learn more on National Geographic’s website here.

Golden Silk Spider, Cahuita National Park, Costa Rica ⓒ 2013 michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.comWhen I first spotted the web of the Golden Silk Spider (Nephila clavipes), above my head in Cahuita National Park, I thought the gold color of the silk was merely sunlight playing on the delicate threads. Imagine my surprise when I leaned in for a closer look! Not only is her web gorgeous, the artist is a real stunner as well! Although the spider will bite if threatened, it is completely harmless. I find arachnids fascinating and this one, with a golden web, is especially beautiful. Learn more about the Golden Silk Spider here.

Sara Longwing Butterfly, Rainforest, Costa Rica ⓒ 2013 michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com The Sara Longwing Butterfly (Heliconius sara) has two sides. The moment I happened to snap this photo, the wings opened, appearing blue, black and white. When closed, the wings are red, black and white. For more information, and a photo of the closed wings, click here.

Green-and-Black Poison-Dart Frog, Cahuita National Park, Costa Rica ⓒ 2013 michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Famous for its toxic skin —long used by native Central and South Americans to create lethal arrows— the Green-and-Black Poison-Dart Frog (Dendrobates auratus) is harmless to humans, unless touched. Learn more about this beautiful amphibian on the Michigan Museum of Zoology Website here.

White-Faced Capuchin Monkeys ⓒ 2013 michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden Highly social and undeniably entertaining, White-Faced Capuchin Monkeys (Cebus capucinus), groom one another as they greet park visitors near the beach. Learn more about the White-Faced Monkey here.

White Nosed Coati Nasua narica Costa Rica ⓒ 2013 michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com The White-Nosed Coati (Nasua narica) is a raccoon-like carnivore. Intelligent and opportunistic, these clever mammals are quick to snatch and run off with an inattentive and unsuspecting hiker’s lunch! Learn more about this mischievous resident of Costa Rica, here.

Photography and Text ⓒ Michaela Medina/The Gardener’s Eden. All images, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you! 

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Cool Beans: Stroll Through Costa Rica’s Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation & Glimpse the Beauty of Harvest Season. . .

March 6th, 2013 § 2

Permaculture at Finca Rosa Blanca's Organic Coffee Plantation ⓒ 2013 michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden Late Afternoon Sunlight Streams Through Banana Leaves at Beautiful Finca Rosa Blanca, A Certified Organic Coffee Plantation in Costa Rica

Coffee Bean Harvest - Finca Rosa Blanca Plantation ⓒ 2013 michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Freshly Harvested Coffee Berries at Finca Rosa Blanca Plantation, Costa Rica

Coffee Beans - Finca Rosa Blanca Plantation ⓒ 2013 michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden Ripe, red Caffea arabica berries signal the beginning of harvest season at Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation. Coffee berries, or “cherries”, are picked during the dry season in Costa Rica. Coffee harvest spans early November through the end of February.

Gardeners tend to be morning people, and like most morning people, I have a routine to begin my day. Topping my list of favorite, daily rituals is a piping hot cup of freshly ground, organically grown coffee, swirled with farm-fresh cream. Delicious! I can’t imagine starting my day without a cup of joe, but despite my passion for and longtime career in horticulture, I actually knew very little about how coffee is grown and harvested. I decided to change that last fall, during one of my recent visits to beautiful Costa Rica (see previous posts here). This past December, I spent a half day touring Finca Rosa Blanca’s organic coffee plantation with Coffea expert Leo Vergnani, a java-loving, Italian native with a world of coffee growing knowledge to share.

Leo Vergnani at Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation, Costa Rica ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina Harlow - thegardenerseden.com Leo Vergnani, coffee growing expert and tour guide at Finca Rosa Blanca’s organic coffee plantation

Leo began the tour of Finca Rosa Blanca plantation at the coffee roasting house, giving us an overview of the world’s major species of coffee plants —70% Arabica (Coffea arabica), 30Robusta (Coffea canephora)— growing conditions/locations and the various types of processes used to harvest, dry and roast coffee. Though the species of coffee grown in Costa Rica, Arabica coffee (Coffea arabica), originated in Ethiopia, the plant is believed to have been first cultivated in its namesake region, Saudi Arabia. Although a variety of coffee plants grow at altitudes ranging from 300-6,000′ above sea level (ASL) —cheaper Robusta coffee (C. canephora), for example, is grown between sea level and 3,000′—- most of the world’s high quality, Arabica coffee is grown in the “coffee belt”, between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. Mountainous, subtropical regions (16-24°, at altitudes of 1,800-4,200′), and similar, equatorial regions (latitudes lower than 10°, at altitudes of 3,600-6,300′), provide ideal conditions for coffee growing. The perfect climate for a coffee plantation should have distinct rainy and dry seasons, and stable, year-round temperatures between 65° - 85° F (20° C). In addition, coffee plants require fast-draining, loose, porous, mineral-rich soil. This makes Costa Rica’s volcanic earth and subtropical climate the perfect geographical region for growing some of the finest coffee in the world.

Trail Through the Coffee Plantation at Finca Rosa Blanca, Costa Rica ⓒ 2013 michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation follows the natural contours of the land. This growing method —and the use of companion plants; including Marantaceae, Iris and Poaceae— helps to control erosion and hold minerals and nutrients in the soil. Sustainable, organic growing practices —including ancient permaculture methods— ensure that the local flora, fauna and environment remain protected.

With the stunning Costa Rican landscape as a backdrop, a tour of Finca Rosa Blanca is an extraordinary experience for all five senses. The coffee plantation follows the winding contours of Costa Rica’s mountainous landscape, with trails leading through a misty canopy of trees. The songs of birds and tree frogs echo above us and the scent of sweet flowers fills the air. As we skip across stony brooks, I catch glimpses of breathtaking waterfalls and familiar, tropical plants —including Maranta and Calathea— as well as wild iris, ferns, lilies and orchids. The dense, fibrous root systems of the many plants and trees growing along the steep slopes help to control erosion here during the rainy season, and a consciously diverse ecosystem controls pests and diseases within in the plantation.

Marantaceae ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina Harlow - thegardenerseden.comjpg Along my tour, I encountered a wide variety of familiar and favorite tropical “houseplants” growing in their native environments; including members of the Prayer Plant (Marantaceae) family

Iris planted to lessen erosion at FRB Coffee Plantation, Costa Rica The diverse population of flora and fauna makes Finca Rosa Blanca a beautiful coffee plantation to explore at every sensory level. Iris and other companion plants help to control soil erosion during the rainy period.

Coffee Beans in the Afternoon Mist - Finca Rosa Blanca Plantation ⓒ 2013 michaela medina harlow - thegardenersedenThe misty tree canopy above the coffee plants protects the leaves from the scorching sun, and slows the ripening process, helping to produce sweet, bright red berries; ideal fruit for the perfect bean!

Caffea arabica plants take and average of 7-8 years to reach maturity. Plants begin flowering and producing berries 2-3 years after planting, and are pruned to prevent over-flowering and increase quality fruit production. The coffee harvest cycle in Costa Rica follows a one year cycle. The fragrant, blossoming period begins in March and lasts 2 or 3 days, with a second wave of bloom following 3-4 weeks later. Because of the staggered flowering time, coffee berries do not form, nor do they mature at once. This makes hand picking necessary, so that only the ripe, red fruit is harvested during the winter season (November through February). Each coffee berry (ripe berries are called coffee “cherries”), holds two seeds (and sometimes a third, called a peaberry). It is these seeds, or “beans”, which are collected from the fruits during processing, dried and roasted to become the familiar, dark brown coffee beans with which the world is so enamored.

Ripe Coffee Berries at Finca Rosa Blanca Plantation, Costa Rica ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina Harlow - thegardenerseden Coffee plants bloom and fruit over a period of time, making hand-picking (ideally, only the ripe, red fruit is selected), necessary.

In order to prolong the berry ripening process —and produce the sweetest, most flavorful coffee— C. arabica requires cool, shady growing conditions. To provide this micro-climate, Finca Rosa Blanca grows coffee plants beneath the shade of a variety of native and regional trees; including the Coral Tree (Erythrina poeppigiana) —a nitrogen-fixing member of the legume family— which not only builds the soil through nitrogen-rich leaf litter, but also provides a delicate screen from the hot sun. Leaves, bark and seeds of the Coral Tree also repel many insect pests, providing natural protection to the soil surrounding the coffee plants. With the help of the Costa Rican environmental protection agency and volunteers, including local school children, Finca Rosa Blanca has planted more than 5,000 native trees to help provide natural nitrogen and shade for coffee growing, and to improve the local environment for birds, pollinating insects and other wildlife.

Leo Vergnani points out a small tree seedling planted by local school children ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina Harlow - thegardenerseden Leo Vergnani points out a protected, native tree seedling planted by local school children. Together with their help, and the help of Costa Rica’s environmental protection agency, Finca Rosa Blanca has added more than 5,000 native trees to their coffee plantations.

In addition to providing optimal growing conditions —which reduce stress on the coffee plants, helping to prevent disease and insect infestations from occurring— Finca Rosa Blanca also practices integrated pest management (IPM) and age-old methods of working with the earth’s natural resources and systems to keep diseases and pests in check and provide the necessary nutrients for coffee plants without using chemical insecticides, herbicides or fertilizers. Coffee is an extremely valuable commodity , with both high demand and price. Because of this, growers are under enormous market pressure and not all coffee plantations adhere to the same sustainable and organic growing practices as Finca Rosa Blanca. However, with increasing environmental awareness, small farms and plantations are becoming popular eco-tourism destinations. Experiencing the natural beauty of Costa Rica, and seeing first hand how ecologically sound agriculture works, helps to educate consumers about the importance of purchasing coffee grown at sustainable, ecologically sound plantations, like Finca Rosa Blanca.

Phermone Trap for White Coffee Borer Beetle ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina Harlow - thegardenerseden Leo explains the purpose of these white cups, seen hanging from coffee plants throughout the plantation. Pheromones are used to attract and trap coffee borer beetles, common pests in plantations. Finca Rosa Blanca is an organic plantation, and uses no chemical pesticides or herbicides.

Because I visited Finca Rosa Blanca in early December, I was fortunate to observe the start of harvest season. As we rounded the trail to the berry processing facility, laughter and light-hearted joking could be heard between the rows of coffee plants. Coffee pickers —many migrant workers from neighboring Nicaragua and Panama— were gathering bags of freshly-harvested berries, and tossing them onto the bed of a pickup truck. It was the end of a long, hard day and yet smiles abounded. Individual crew members are paid by the number of ripe units picked, which seems to make for happy and unhurried work. Surrounded by the calming beauty of nature, Finca Rosa Blanca Plantation is clearly a great place to spend your days . . .

Joy of Life - Picking Coffee Beans at Finca Rosa Blanca Plantation ⓒ 2013 michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden Coffee Harvest Season at Finca Rosa Blanca Plantation, Costa Rica

The Harvest Crew at Finca Rosa Blanca Plantation ⓒ 2013 michaela medina harlow - thegardenersedenThe Crew at Harvest: Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation, Costa Rica 

Bagged Beans - Finca Rosa Blanca ⓒ 2013 michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden Measuring a day’s work: coffee pickers are paid by measured units

Processing Coffee Beans - Finca Rosa Blanca Plantation ⓒ 2013 michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden Ripe coffee berries, called “cherries”, pass through a machine which removes the seeds, or “beans” from the fruit. The seeds are soaked overnight in bathwater and rinsed before air drying and resting the beans prior to roasting

Coffee Berry Processing at Finca Rosa Blanca, Costa Rica ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina Harlow - thegardenerseden Extracted seeds from coffee berries pass along a chute, down into an overnight bath

After harvest, coffee berries are processed through a micro-milling station to extract the seeds, or “beans”, for drying. After the fruit has been scraped and washed away, the seeds are sorted and spread out for air-drying and held for a resting period of 1 1/2 – 3 months before they are ready for roasting.

Leo Vergnani walks us through the coffee bean drying process at Finca Rosa Blanca ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina Harlow - thegardenerseden Leo Virgnani explains how coffee is air dried to reduce moisture content

Drying Coffee Beans - Finca Rosa Blanca Plantation - Costa Rica ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina Harlow - thegardenerseden Coffee seeds are raked out and air dried on screens. Moisture content is regularly measured with hand-held hydrometers until the beans are considered dry.

La Casa Del Cafe - Finca Rosa Blanca - ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina Harlow - thegardenerseden After a resting period of 1 1/2-3 months, air-dried coffee beans are sold and processed through micro-roasters or by Finca Rosa Blanca. The plantation’s coffee is offered for sale to guests, hotels/restaurants, and sold/shipped worldwide through Cafe Milagro’s website.

At the end of our tour, Leo Virgnani invited us to take part in the traditional coffee tasting ritual known as “cupping”. This delightful experience has forever altered how I evaluate my morning cup of joe. Have you ever participated in a traditional coffee tasting? Many coffee plantations and micro roasters offer “cupping” as part of a facilities tour. If you have the chance, take it! You will experience flavors ranging from sweet molasses to dark chocolate, with earthy tones and bright notes and even hints of citrus and tobacco. Who knew coffee could be this complex!

Coffee cupping at Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation- Costa Rica ⓒ 2013 michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Coffee “cupping” reveals the subtle flavors of my favorite morning drink; including hints of citrus, earth, dark chocolate, molasses and even tobacco 

Gate at Finca Rosa Blanca Plantation, Costa Rica ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina Harlow - thegardenersedenFinca Rosa Blanca Plantation and Inn, at Sunset 

I would like to extend a special note of gratitude to Leo Vergnani for making our visit to Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation both an educational and beautifully memorable experience! Thank you, Leo!

For more information about Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation and Inn, or to Purchase Coffee, Please Visit their Website.

Photography and Text ⓒ Michaela Medina/The Gardener’s Eden. All images, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you! 

Do you enjoy The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through affiliate links. A small percentage of each sale will be paid to this site, helping to cover web hosting and maintenance costs. Thank you so much for your support!

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Tip-Toe Through the Tree-Tops: Monteverde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica …

March 7th, 2012 § 3

Selvatura Park, Santa Elena, Costa Rica: Suspended Bridges Span Verdant Valleys & Lush Canopies of Mist-Covered Tree Tops

When describing a great adventure, sometimes the hardest part is knowing where to begin. Such was the case when I returned from my recent travels in Costa Rica. Because I truly fell in love with one particular area —the Monteverde Cloud Forest Region— I knew right away that I would find it impossible to tell the tale in chronological order. So I skipped right to the middle, and I hope you won’t mind!

Getting to Monteverde Cloud Forest —4,662′ above sea level— is quite a journey in and of itself. Miles and miles of narrow, dusty dirt roads twist and turn up, around and through the rugged mountainous terrain in the Puntarenas region. The travel is slow-going, with tourist-filled busses and supply trucks popping up around perilous corners. Although I love to drive, for once, I was very happy to be in the passenger seat!

The View from the Mountains Leading to Santa Elena, Looking Down to the Coast and Nicoya Peninsula 

The Monteverde area sits high above sea level, spanning Costa Rica’s continental divide, and encompassing a variety of microclimates.  The Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve is a protected, natural area founded by American Quakers when they settled the area and began farming in 1951. Since that time, more Cloud Forest area has been devoted to parks and preserves …

Mist-Covered Tree Tops at the Edge of the Continental Divide, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Cloud Forests are truly some of the rarest, most magical places on Earth. Only 1% of the world’s wooded areas are cloud forests. While staying in Santa Elena de Monteverde at the beautiful Arco Iris Lodge, I visited two of these mysterious, mist-covered forests within minutes of each other: Selvatura Park and Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve.

Michaela in the Monteverde Cloud Forest

Selvatura Park alone boasts 8 suspended bridges, carrying hikers through and above the cloud-shrouded forest canopy. We spent approximately 3 hours hiking in Selvatura Park, and a similar amount of time in Monteverde Cloud Forest; listening to the sounds of tropical birds, breathing in the moist, warm air and ogling countless botanical beauties. There are far too many photographs and stories to share in just one post, but here’s a first glimpse at some of the incredible flora I observed at ground level. I truly felt as if I were roaming a gigantic terrarium …

Slender Threads of Mucuna Vine (there are seven different species in Costa Rica) Drape Between the Trees Like Emerald-Hued Web

Delightful Combinations of Hart’s Tongue (Elaphoglossum eximium) & Tree Ferns Mingle Upon & Between Moss-Covered Trunks

Begonia convallariodora, a cloud forest native, blooms in the shadowy, blue mist

This gorgeous, pink-tinged Blechnum occidentale, stands out amid her lush, verdant neighbors

Another Native of the Monteverde Reserve, This Beautifully Pink-Tinted Begonia involucrata Shimmers with a Fresh Coat of Raindrops

Familiar, Yet Strange: It’s Always a Pleasure to Stumble Upon a Common Houseplant —Like this Leathery Philodendron— Growing in Its Native Environment.

Bright Red, Tubular Cuphea appendiculata Flowering on the Forest Floor

Pathway Through the Monteverde Cloud Forest Floor, Lined with Senecio cooperi

At the End of One Trail, a Waterfall Spills Into a Fern-Lined Pool, Carved into Earth and Stone

Photographs and Text ⓒ Michaela Medina and WB for The Gardener’s Eden. All photos, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions) are the original, copyrighted property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Thank you!

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Field Notes from Costa Rica …

March 4th, 2012 Comments Off

Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

Where in the world is Michaela? Yes, it’s been a long time since my last blog post, of this I am well aware. But, if you have been following The Gardener’s Eden page on Facebook, you’ll know that I’ve been hiking all over beautiful Costa Rica. With warm, moist air and lush, tropical cloud forests filled with begonias, epiphytes, moss, ferns and so much more, this country is a hortimaniac’s dream-come-true!

I have so much to share with you! Now that I have returned to snow-covered Vermont, I have many photos to sort through and stories to tell. I’ll be back with more soon, but here are a few photos to wet your appetite!

Michaela Standing in the Wet Winds at the Continental Divide – Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Preserve – Costa Rica

Enjoying a Hike, Surrounded by Lush Moss, Ferns and Epiphytes of Every Kind Imaginable in the Costa Rican Cloud Forest at Monteverde

Enjoying a Canopy-View of the Cloud Forest & Strolling the Suspended Bridges in Selvatura Park, Santa Elena, Costa Rica

Photographs and Text ⓒ Michaela Medina and WB for The Gardener’s Eden. All photos, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions) are the original, copyrighted property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Thank you!

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