Monday, July 10, 2006

Gardens in Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico

The tree the pinata is hanging from is in the Chacala churchyard.
The tree in the picture provides shade for all the church events, for fisherman knitting nets, and for kids playing, and men visiting and talking. The large church bell hangs from the tree, announcing when the priest has arrived in town to offer a Mass, a Novena, a Baptism, wedding, funeral, Confirmation, or a special Saint's day celebration. Everyone seems to have a different name for the tree. It is huge, and takes many children's arms to encircle it. It's hard to see from the photo just how big it is.

I am taking a week trip to Morelia and Patzcuaro, in the state of Michoacan. The climate is really different than in Chacala, even though we are quite a ways south of where I live. Both of these towns are high in the mountains, I think around 5,000 feet for Morelia and 7,200 feet for Patzcuarto. The cool weather, with sunny days and some early evening rain, are really a nice change from hot, humid Chacala.

There doesn´t seem to be any special public gardens around here, but I have been to a couple of plant nurseries, just to see what they grow here. There are many plazas in Morelia with plants and trees, but nothing has really caught my eye. It sure is not tropical here.

Yesterday, as I took the bus from the bus station closest to Chacala, which is in Las Varas, up thru the mountains and farmlands (mainly agave plants) thru to Guadalajara, and then further south to Morelia. Over the day's travel there was a big change in the tree situation.
First, palms, and some gorgeous decidious trees around home, then a number of trees if don't know the names of, or if I do I don't know how to spell them. There were still a few palms heading up to Tepic, then no trees at all, just agave farms. The spikey, blue agave plants, marching across the landscape in straight rows are really eye-catching, and beautiful. Very, few trees during that three hour drive. And then, when we left Guadalajara, there were no trees, just tall shrubs, until the last half hour before Morelia, when there were fir trees. I am just starting to get the names of the trees around the outskirts of town.

I know one thing, and that´s that even though I love the buildings in Morelia, I don´t especially enjoy the urban environment. I´m not sure I could live in a big city again. There are 500,000 people here. It doesn't seem that big. I guess there are some taller buildings somewhere in this town, but I haven't seen them yet. Except for the cathredal and some of the churches.

I am really missing the bouganvilleas and hibiscus and palms, and all the beautiful plants and birds and butterflys at home in Chacala. And it's only been a couple of days.

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