Saturday, December 28, 2013
Sunday, December 8, 2013
We have just come back from an incredible trip to Southern India and Sri Lanka. Though we learned so much about Tamil culture, Hindu temples, Sri Lankan history, what I didn't figure on was how much I would learn about the flora in that part of the world.
The amazingly beautiful Royal Botanical Gardens outside of Kandy, Sri Lanka are something you must visit. Started in 1371 by Kandian kings, the British revitalized this park starting in 1821 and added to it, making it the magnificent oasis it is today.
A garden that promotes it's superlatives, it boasts the "largest pruned tree" in the world, and the "largest orchid" in the world (if you are lucky enough for it to be in bloom when you visit). This tree below was curious, called a Candle Tree..with waxy bean pod-like fruits hanging from it's branches. Like many prehistoric plants, the fruits come directly off the trunks, like Papayas, Cacao nuts, and Jak fruit. Apparently this is much more common in this part of the world.
Check out this variety of bamboo that was planted over 100 years ago...I added our initials to it as couples have for the last century..
Here is the "largest pruned tree in the world!"
One tree with a significant history is the Cannonball Tree, Couroupita guianensis, planted by King George the V England and Queen Mary in 1901. The tree is bent with its fruits, which look like cannonballs. Again, those crazy fruits on the trunk!
Avenue of Palms
We spent only about 2 hours in this beautiful place, but felt rejuvenated after our day of travel from India. Sri Lanka is the second most biologically diverse place in the world, and these gardens certainly show that well. Things grow fast and for a long time, achieving sizes that don't happen here in Maine. Though a person feels dwarfed by the foliage, you understand our smallness while looking into the face of our primordial botanical past.