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Flowers & Plants, Page 3

Bougainvillea-lined Road

This is the kind of road the motorcycle riders arriving to La Antigua Guatemala may find. Even I would like to ride …

Time to harvest the coffee in La Antigua Guatemala

So what makes La Antigua Guatemala the best coffee in the world? To get the best cup of coffee of the world, one must start with the right altitude; somewhere above 1,500 meters above the sea level; add lots of fertile volcanic soil; mix in plenty of rain (about six months); stable temperate weather (about 75˚ F / 25˚ C); once you have the above, make sure you plant the best possible Arabica coffee.

Coffee Harvest Time in Guatemala

Yesterday’s photo was a close-up of the coffee bush in the lower left corner of today’s photo. If you click on the image above you can the coffee bushes (the small trees) being harvested under the shadows of the Gravilea trees in San Pedro Las Huertas, La Antigua Guatemala. Around La Antigua Guatemala you can find coffee bushes everywhere, including as part of the hedges of La Compañí­a de Jesús ruins.

The Coffee Colors

The other day we heard many voices on the other side of the fence; voices of children and women just talking and laughing. We approached the windows on the second floor to see what was all the commotion; then we saw men, women and children harvesting the coffee. At this moment, you can see the turning point of coffee from green to golden yellow and finally cherry red.

Poinsettias and Pine Needle are Christmas Decorations in Guatemala

Manolo and Carmen were reminiscing just the other day about the smells associated with the Christmas season in Guatemala. Pine needles have a very peculiar smell and indeed its smell its burnt in the Guatemalan collective memory of Christmas and birthdays parties. Flor de Pascua or poinsettias are a visual cue of the upcoming Christmas as well. Shops know this and they use pine needle and poinsettias among other Christmas decorations to reel in the customers; it seems to be working just fine in this shop.

Window view of Mountains around La Antigua Guatemala

As beautiful, cosmopolitan, antique and modern as it is La Antigua Guatemala, many people choose to live in one of the surrounding villages that belong to the municipio (county) of La Antigua Guatemala. There are many reasons for this decision which range from the economics, ‘real guatemalan experience’, or simply to live in a more natural and greener environment.

The Roads Around Antigua Guatemala

From the Guateflora series we take a different road to show you the lush roads around La Antigua Guatemala. By the way, the roads that communicate La Antigua Guatemala with the rest of the ‘real’ Guatemala are some of the best in the country, if not the best; they are kept in better conditions than the rest of the roads around Guatemala.

Guateflora: Llama del bosque

This kind of tree with its orange flowers is very popular around La Antigua Guatemala. According to the Guateflora book its name is Llama del bosque (flame of the forest) which brings me to an interesting fact between the English and Spanish languages. Forest in Spanish is bosque, but deforestation is deforestación. In English the root for the word bosque is still available as bosk for a thicket of bushes. Can you come up with other samples?

Guateflora: Falsa Uva (False Grape)

The hoja de falsa uva (false grape) or Parthenocisus inserta as it is known scientifically is a trepadora (climbing) plant. In the trepadoras category the most often used are the hiedra (ivy), uña de gato (cat’s claw), falsa uva (false grape), collar de la reina (queen’s collar), and of course the ever-present bugambilea (bougainvillea). The trepadoras (climbing) category in the Guateflora book has 34 different plants, so I have homework to do. 😉

Guateflora: Falsa Maní­a (False Peanut)

Falsa maní­a or Maní­ forrajero (false peanut) as it is known in Guatemala the Arachis pintoi is a cubresuelos (ground-creeping) plant used often in the garden of La Antigua Guatemala. José, our gardener, told me that you can also use it a trepadora (climbing) plant if you guide it. I really like this evergreen plant which flowers all-year-round a tiny yellow flower. According to the Guateflora book, it can grow anywhere and handles well people walking over it.

Guateflora: Hiedras (Hedera/Ivies)

Hiedras (Ivies/Hederas helix & H. canariensis) are very popular as well as all kinds of trepadoras (climbing) or cubresuelos (ground-creeping) siempreverdes (evergreen) plants in La Antigua Guatemala. Hiedras and trepadoras are found in many antigüeño homes covering the gardens’ walls.

Guateflora: Cactus Pot

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).

Guateflora: Colas de Quetzal

You know you are in a Guatemalan home the moment you see the Colas de Quetzal (nephorlepsis spp.) or Quetzal’s tails (ferns) hanging in the corridors. The Colas de Quetzal bracken has to be one of the favorite ornamental plants used in the Guatemalan home. Some of these ferns or brackens are native to Guatemala, but they are considered cosmopolitan because they can grow anywhere. Colas de Quetzal can grown in hanging baskets, pots or in the ground, but they need some shadow to maintain the evergreen colors. The above photo of Colas de Quetzal was taken at Vivero La Escalonia (5a av. sur final), a very popular nursery in La Antigua Guatemala. Vivero La Escalonia is a great place to have breakfast or lunch.

Guateflora: Close-up View of Gerberas

Gerberas (gerbera jamesonii) are a very popular flowers in the gardens of La Antigua Guatemala. Gerberas are found in yellow, white, red (like the picture above), orange, purple and pink. Gerberas grow in temperate-cold climate and give their beautiful flowers throughout the year. This particular shot was taken at Vivero La Escalonia in the south part of La Antigua. (source for technical information: Guate Flora)

Typical Post Card from La Antigua Guatemala

I am not too fond of post cards shots, but I do get them too every once in a while. So, please tell me you will come back tomorrow; I promise to stay away from post card images. I promise!

Chicalote’s Flower and Seed Cocoon

Further in the background, you see the leaves of one of Guatemala’s most edible weeds: Quilete (also known as yerba mora and macuy). Yerba Mora is the weed in the background with the tiny yellow flowers. Guatemalans’ diet include many weeds and herbs. I will list them here as a sort of to do list and to see if other Guatemalans can help with translating some of the names. Guatemala’s most edible weed goes by the name of Chipilí­n and it used in so many dishes like chuchitos, mixed with rice, with chicken in a creamy white sauce. Other weeds, that I remember right now, are Bledo (young green amaranth), Berro, Acelgas (chard), Espinacas (spinach), Loroco, Flor de Izote, Flor de ayote. I am sure this is only a fraction of the list… can you point out other weeds and herbs a I left out.

Chicalote (Prickly Poppy) Cocoon in La Antigua Guatemala

Last year, on the entry The Land of the Eternal Spring, I talked about the “undocumented alien” in our garden, the Flor de Pascua (poinsettias) which were not planted or maintained, yet it gave us those wonderful red flowers from October through March. Since then, we moved to another house in San Pedro Las Huertas, one of the neighborhoods of La Antigua Guatemala, which is next to a coffee plantation with lots of trees and birds (partners in crime). Well, I am happy to report yet another “undocumented alien” in our new garden by the name of Chicalote (Prickly Poppy or Argemone Mexicana), a sort desert weed (that’s right I said desert, remember La Antigua is located in a tropical country). Two days ago I presented you the chicalote’s flower in the entry Flora and Fauna working together. One thing many visitors to La Antigua Guatemala notice right away is the incredible number of exotic flowers and plants, many of which grow in the wild.

Flora and Fauna Working Together

This is another shot taken from our garden which shows the harmonious relationship that flora and fauna can have. There are about four or five photos from our garden, a mini-series if we may call it that way, including one that shows some of edible weeds and/or herbs that our very popular in Guatemala. But, first we have to take a break, on September 1st, to be part of the Theme day of Daily Photo Community. The theme for tomorrow is street light or street signs and I have a great capture, with rain and all, from La Antigua Guatemala that show both of them.

Coffee Table in La Antigua Guatemala

We are back to coffee beans, again, in the form of table available in the patio area of Fernando’s Kaffee. I believe La Antigua Guatemala is blessed because most days you can have your breakfast in the patio and most patios are so full of gorgeous and exotic (for the rest of the world) plants and flowers. I recommend that you have breakfast and a good cup of coffee at Fernando’s Kaffee if you come to La Antigua Guatemala. For those who only want to have access to this fabulous coffee, Fernando confided in me that very soon, in the next couple of weeks, he will begin exporting his in situs roasted selection of Guatemalan coffee beans. You will be able to order any amount of coffee (starting at 3 pounds, I believe); so keep an eye at coming-soon Fernando’s Kaffee web site.

Exiting the San Lázaro Cemetery

It is so peaceful to walk on the tree-lined cobblestone street with benches on the side in your way in or out of the San Lázaro Cemetery. I guess a visit to this cemetery could be a much needed break from the ‘hectic’ strolls around La Antigua Guatemala.

Tree-lined Cemetery pathway in La Antigua Guatemala

The San Lázaro Cemetery is characterized by its many white mausoleums and tree-lined pathways. I have visited and photographed several cemeteries in Guatemala and México and this is the first time I see such clean and organized cemetery. It almost doesn’t feel like a Latin American cemetery until you begin to see the Antigüeño last names on the family mausoleums. Perhaps, this is the cemetery for the wealthy families of La Antigua Guatemala.

Saint James Day in La Antigua Guatemala

Santiago was a very popular name for the conquistadors to use as they rechristen the new lands of the American continent. If you check the entry for Santiago in Wikipedia, you will there are over 60 cities and towns throught the world that carry that name and that is a very short list since you could probably find about 60 towns with the Santiago name, just in Guatemala. But why was Santiago such a popular name for the Spanish and Portuguese conquistadors?

Life Can Be Good in La Antigua Guatemala

Not everything is rotten in the paradisiac lands of Guatemala. Sometimes you can take a pause from your hectic life or trip to enjoy the afternoon sunshine while having some of the best “home-made” cookies and coffee in Guatemala as you read a book or the Revue Magazine in our little green corner; our tiny and cozy corner of the world.

Flor de Izote or Yucca tree flower

I don’t know why I have a fascination with the Izote tree, a member of the yucca tree family, also known as the Yoshua tree. Maybe its many arms and hands. Anyhow, I like it and its used often in the hedgerows around Antigua Guatemala. Its white flowers are edible and they are considered a delicacy. The izote tree flower is also the national flower for the neighboring country of El Salvador. You can see the white flowers right above the center of the photograph; you may need to see the larger version to actually see it. So far I have posted several photos of the palo de izote tree, but this one is my favorite.

Coffee and Gravileas Trees Along with Bougainvillea Bushes

This photo is needed to clarify a confusion about the coffee trees and their height. Nathalie from Sydney DP asked if coffee trees grow very tall in La Antigua Guatemala, while referring to this photograph which showed coffee trees and their shadow makers the gravilea trees around Antigua, San Pedro Las Huertas to be precise. I posted a Close-up photo of coffee plantation before to show the coffee bushes (tree could be considered an exaggeration) and the shadow trees known here a gravileas. So, to answer Nathalie’s questions, coffee trees (ed. bushes) do not grow very high; they can be harvest by Guatemalan farm workers on foot.

Wooden Cayuco Flower pot

Cayucos are small indigenous hand-made vessels, sort like kayaks, that can be found around Lake Atitlán, about two hours from La Antigua …

Huge Bougainvillea Tree at El Pensativo River

Believe it or not, the dry green river bed is El Pensativo River. The other day while driving on Calle Chipilapa, which takes you to La Ermita de la Santa Cruz Ruins, I saw this huge bougainvillea tree on the other side of El Pensativo River, dry now but soon it will have running water. I never seen a bougainvillea tree so big; my girlfriend and I saw a midget bougainvillea tree—about 1 meter in height— in Tapachula, Mexico.

Flowers for the Innocent

Flowers for the innocent who died yesterday in the Virginia Tech college and everywhere in the world.

Inside Doña Luisa Xicotencatl

The restaurant and bakery housed under the name of Doña Luisa Xicotencatl, on 4a calle oriente #12 in La Antigua Guatemala, has …

A Million Shades of Green

Fact #1: Right now is winter in Guatemala as it is located in the Northern Hemisphere. You might not be believe this …

Moonlighting the Garden

I don’t know what exactly haunts me about this image. Maybe the moon in the background, the green branches barely lit or …

Tree Branches on Fire

Back on December 16th and 17th, 2006, I showed you what Parque Central (Central Park) looked like with the Christmas lights all …

Cycling the dogs

On August 12th, the entry about The Dance of the Giants, I mentioned that on the weekends Calle del Arco, Antigua’s most …

Pick your color #4

This is close-up view of the “undocumented alien” in my garden. I plan to have more strict rules for this migrant plants, …

Pick your color #2

If you love the bougainvillea flowers as much as Pamela does, and you don’t want to move to a secret island called …

Palm Trees in Antigua

I showed you these palm trees on August 28th as they reflect on the water tank at the public washbasins at Parque …

Trimming the trees

The problem with old trees is that they are too tall; trimming the old branches becomes an ordeal. Here two employees of …

Live green fences

Twice before I have mentioned that fences are alive around Antigua. Here you can see two coffee plantation, one each side of …

Detail of a Stairway

One thing is very obvious in the photos of Guatemala: Green is everywhere (Lisi would be happy here since she loves green). …

Izote tree with branches

Izote tree with branches, originally uploaded by rudygiron. Patsy found this tree very interesting. It is called Palo de Izote and it …

Palo de Izote tree

Palo de Izote is a relative of the Yucca Tree. It is present in almost all gardens and fences here and everywhere …

San José el Viejo ruins in Antigua

There are many ruins in Antigua, most of them, are churches, convents and monasteries. San José el Viejo ruins is pictured here. This photo was taken half a block from the previous entry and about two minutes later.

Greetings from Fire volcano

On my photo for May 11, 2006, I forgot to mention that one of the volcanoes in the background is actually active. …

Field of lettuces and vegetables

Antigua Guatemala is surrounded by large farms (fincas in Spanish) and coffee plantations. This photo was taken only two kilometers from Antigua. …

Hotel Aurora garden

Once the Antigua became a popular tourist destination, many old houses were converted into hotels. Hotel Aurora is the opposite corner to …