The Perfect Place for a Stroll
When you step out our back door you will find bromeliads, orchids, and dozens of exotic plants and flowers, you will feel the whisper of the breeze, hear the chirping of birds. Look for the blue crowned motmot, hummingbirds and more. We have made an effort to recreate the Central Valley's biodiversity in our gardens.
Bromeliads in our gardens
Bromeliads are native of the tropical and subtropical areas of the Americas. Most of them grow as air plants on the trunks and branches of trees or in porous rocks. Some of them, such as the pineapple, are terrestrial.
The most interesting fact about some bromeliads is that their colored leaves make them appear to be flowers.
There are three ecologies of these plants:
• Terrestrial bromeliads, with a well-developed root system designed to absorb water and nutrients.
• Tank bromeliads, which are the most common, have a funnel in the center of a rosette of leaves in order to collect rain water.
• Air bromeliads (tillandsioideae) have wire-like roots which attach themselves for support to trees, other plants or wood.
The coffee frog has a green back and orange-colored belly with a sky-blue stripe and yellow eyes.
One distinguishing feature of the monkey frog is its webbed feet and suction toes, which allow them to climb trees and move easily on slippery surfaces like wet leaves and lily pads. This ability to climb is important because after they mate, they deposit the eggs on leaves on branches that hang over the water. When it rains, the hatching larvae slide down and fall into the water below.
The baby frogs are protected in the Bougainvillea ponds, feeding from the abundant insects present in the gardens.
The Agalychnisannae frogs are able to jump, but seldom do so. Instead, they walk on twigs and tree leaves, with a gait similar to that of monkeys. That is why they are sometimes called ‘monkey frogs´
The Importance of Providing Habitat for Frogs
Dr. Heinz Hoffman, Phytopathologist
Frogs´ origins go back many million years and they have survived and developed. Fossilized remains of frogs which lived in the Jurassic period, some 150 million years ago, have been found. They were descendants of ancient amphibians originating 350 million years ago. Nevertheless, they are delicate. So any substantial change in the environment can mean their rapid extinction.
The way of life of frogs and toads is incredibly complex. Their reproductive relations and the care of their eggs are strongly related to their specific environment. Not all frogs lay their eggs only in water and go away, as people commonly think. Males of certain species wrap themselves in strings of eggs, and carry them around until they are ready to take them into the water.
Other species lay their eggs in protected but dry caves. After that, they have to moisten them and take the newborn larvae to adequate water areas.
During the eighties, in Australia, two varieties of frogs were discovered which swallow their eggs and suspend the acid production in the stomach so that it functions as an analog uterus.
The young frogs would be born out of the mouth of the mother. As soon as this fact became known, these frogs disappeared and have never been found again. Some of the brightly colored frogs in Costa Rica have suffered the same fate. Nowadays you may see only the sad remains of these frogs in museums, preserved in formaldehyde.
Coffee (Coffea Arabica): an African native bush brought in the 19th century to Costa Rica, it has been the principal supporter of Costa Rica's economy. Costa Rica is famous worldwide for its coffee, mainly cultivated in the Central Valley area and surrounding mountains. In the farms surrounding Hotel Bougainvillea in Santo Domingo de Heredia, coffee used to be the main crop.
Cacao or Chocolate tree (Theobroma cacao): native of tropical America, chocolate is obtained from its dried seeds. Cacao was a very important crop in Costa Rica during the Pre-Columbian and Colonial Periods. Most of the fields were planted in the Atlantic zone. Nowadays most of them are abandoned.
Banana (Musa spp.): the symbol of tropical fruit, bananas are one of Costa Rica's major export products. The largest plantations are located in the Atlantic zone, where they replaced the cacao cultivated areas. Cultivation began in Costa Rica in 1878, earlier than our Central American neighbors. Once the Atlantic Railroad was finished in 1890, banana exportation attracted foreign investment, increasing and surpassing coffee production. By 1911, Costa Rica had become the world's largest producer of bananas.
Pineapple (Ananascomosus): a native of tropical America, this fruit belongs to the bromeliad family. It is also one of Costa Rica's important export crops. Pineapple plantations are all around the country.