Guest Contributor and HollyTrail Photographer: Tomek Kleczek
Welcome to Part 3 of my three-part series on Montoso Gardens! Did you enjoy the photo of the torch ginger flower above? We came across such beautiful plants and flowers throughout our hike on the winding trails at Montoso Gardens. Part 3 covers our hike on one of Montoso Gardens’ trails. This post is also full of photos of the tropical plants we saw along the way. . . .
After walking down the valley to the river, we went on a new hiking trail that Bryan is working on. It was in stark contrast to the lazy grass path that we previously took to the river. We were not expecting such a moderate hike, but it turned out to be incredible.
The number of different interesting varieties of plants was astounding. Towards the beginning of the hike, we moved around a huge elephant ear growing in the middle of the trail. Soon after that, we passed through an area where long vines hung from the trees above. In addition, pink bananas and plantains displayed their fruit. Our downloaded google map proved to be helpful, especially in less-cleared areas. The map itself provided information about all the trails in the gardens, as well as the location of different plant species for easy identification.
At one point, the trail hugged the side of a hill, exposing a wonderful view of the valley we came out of.
Although I was not able to catch a whole lot of birds on camera, there certainly were birds to see and hear. I was not a happy camper when I missed photographing a huge bird that flew overhead. The birds were fast and hid themselves, probably due to my father and I being very loud as we lumbered through the hike. We did however see many small anoles (small lizards) all throughout our visit.
The hike took us an hour to finish and ended back at Bryan’s house, where we said goodbye to the dogs before rushing back to San Juan for the closing concert at the Puerto Piano Festival. Driving back, the road seemed a lot easier than before. I made the concert without a minute to spare, though it was then delayed for half an hour. Of course.
My experience at Montoso Gardens was better than anything I could have hoped for. From the wide grassy paths, to the Taino village, to the guest cottages, to the challenging hikes, and of course the views and plant species, the botanical gardens make a perfect destination for any and all plant adventurers. I will certainly come back next time I am in Puerto Rico; it will take much more than one visit to explore all 90 acres!
I leave you with a few more photos of some of the flowers and plants we saw throughout the gardens, including numerous gingers and some more heliconias, among other various flowers. Thanks for reading! If you take a trip to Puerto Rico, make sure to visit Montoso Gardens–the tropical gardens and hikes are wonderful. If you can’t make it to Puerto Rico, check out the Montoso Gardens website to see photos of the tropical fruits that grow there (click on the Online Store tab) and read some posts on growing tropical fruits at home.
Hope you enjoyed the slide show!