Saturday, August 25, 2007

Tour of the Oaxaca Ethno-Botanical Garden

I am going to post photos in as soon as I can figure how to do it.

Yesterday I went on a tour of the Oaxaca Ethno-Botanical Garden. Twice a week the Garden offers a two hour tour in English. The guide was an American woman named Carol Turkenik. She seemed to be very knowledgeable about the "ethno" aspects of the Garden. Uses of plants and the place of the various plants in the culture, history, and religious life of the area. I really enjoyed the tour.

The garden itself is very beautiful. It´s set in what was originally a work area behind a cathedral and monastery in Oaxaca, that was built in the late 1500´s. On two sides it´s surrounded by the lovely old buildings, with a nicer building (1800´s maybe) on another side and a tall stone wall on the fourth sides. It´s really a spectacular setting for a garden. It´s right on the north edge of the centro area of Oaxaca.

We were mostly in the areas of the garden where there are succulent plants, mostly cacti.

I loved hearing about all the ways people from the pre-Hispanic era up until today use the plants and trees in there lives. I live the idea that ordinary, but very knowledgeable people know how to use the plants area them for food, medicine, clothing, shelter, and everyday life.

I think the tour guide had read the Jared Diamond book about how the plants and animals that were originally in each area of the earth impacted the growth of ¨culture¨in that area. I thin it´s called "Guns Steel and .......". I really liked that book. The Americas originally had no animals that could be domesticated for agricultural or other work. Except for dogs and Llamas in the high mountains of South America.

Anyway. The Oaxaca garden is wonderful. And so are the Cathedral and monastery (now a beautiful museum) are really amazing. Even before people had arrived in what is now the U.S. gorgeous stone buildings were building built in was is now Mexico. And many of those buildings are still in use. I love it here. Even though I don´t love was the Spanish invaders did to the people of Mexico.


mmw said...

I love that garden! did you by any chance get the species name of their huge barrel cacti -- biznagas, I think they're called?

The Jared Diamond book is called Guns, Germs, and Steel.

Catherine said... have an interesting , fun, site...enjoyed all the pic's.

what beautiful gardens!!