Costa Rica

Speaker: Alan Martin
Date: 26th October
Year: 2016

Alan told us he was a lifelong gardener and when he retired he went to Sparsholt College and obtained a Horticultural Diploma and had subsequently been inspired by the plants in the Jerusalem Botanic Gardens in Israel.

Alan starting his talk

Alan starting his talk


Alan told us that he had been to Costa Rica twice and described it as a “wonderful place”. He explained that the talk would not be just about gardening and plants but more of an eco-talk. He said that Costa Rica translated as Rich Coast and had a population of over 4 million, 1% of which was of Indian stock.

18% of the land was described as Eco Centres where wild life was protected. San José was the capital and largest town. Since its revolution in 1948 there are no armed forces but a strong police force upholds the democracy, there is a good education system, thriving banana plantations and Intel has its headquarters there.

He went on to describe in a colourful detailed Power Point presentation, the rich and varied wildlife of the country. Birds, beasts and flowers all featured from the Bronzed Cowbird and its complicated relationship with the Montezuma Oriel, to the turtles of Tortuguero beach, leafcutter ants, howler monkeys, the three toe sloth, the amazing basilisk lizard which runs on water and of course the spectacular humming birds.

Many strange and wonderful plants and trees were mentioned too including the cannon ball tree, the flowers of which attract bats, and the Mutiny on the Bounty bread fruit tree. And the walking palm with its arial roots which can move to better locations!

Alan also mentioned the study centre in the Monte Verdi rain forest and where he met Indian villagers who told about their isolated lives, also about the volcanic nature of the country with its still active volcanoes, and the Irazu Volcano with the green water lake in its crater.

It was a mesmerising talk and thoroughly enjoyed by all (including the jokes!).

Guaria Morada (Guarianthe skinneri) National flower of Costa Rica

Guaria Morada (Guarianthe skinneri) National flower of Costa Rica

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