Believe it or not, the land around La Antigua Guatemala was a very ‘fertile’ arid zone before the introduction of the coffee bush as a crop in 1875. I know fertile and arid sound like two mutually exclusive words, but they were not in Guatemala before 18th century where the Nopal and Maguey cactuses were grown in plantations. I’ve even seen photographs of the nopal plantations around La Antigua Guatemala in the CIRMA Fototeca (The Photo Archives at The Center for Mesoamerican Research). CIRMA is the local think-tank.
The gardens at Parque Central are the very best example of the diversity of plants that can grow side-by-side in La Antigua Guatemala. You can find anything from jacaranda trees, palm trees, flowers, avocado trees, cactus, et-cetera. I promise I will do a mini-series about the great plant nursery that is the Central Park of La Antigua Guatemala.
The Guateflora category takes its name on a wonderful compilation book by the name of Guate Flora: Plantas ornamentales más utilizadas en jardínes guatemaltecos (Guate Flora: Ornamental Plants Most Often Used in Guatemalan Gardens). The books compiles more than 400 photos of the plants most often used in Guatemalan gardens along with technical description about the plants’ categories, and how to grow them. Many of the photographs in the book were taken from gardens in private homes, hotels, restaurants, parks, green houses, mini-malls or on the streets around La Antigua Guatemala; this fact is what prompted me to try to take shots of the ornamental plants as I encounter them in my comings-and-goings.
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