Pisac Botanical Garden
Pisac is a village in southern Peru's Sacred valley region, so the odds are that few people stumble upon the jewel of a botanical garden that lies mid town, hidden behind the market in it's own little world. It truly is a secret garden gem, hidden away behind the walls of houses on tree sides and the garden wall on one side. Above the entrance there is a sign, but to gain entry you have to ring a bell hanging by the gate and wait for someone to come and open it. Entry is 10 Sol per person, which translates to 3 US dollars or 2,50 €.
The botanical garden of Pisac was founded by the present owners father, Felipe Marin Moreno, in what is essentially a very big courtyard of the old house. Although it is lushly overgrown will all manners of plants, it actually follows a clear design of beautifully cobbled paths around the edges and crossing the centre, dividing the different areas according to plan. Yet, when standing in the garden, the plan is lost to the eye in face of the abundant and wild plantings!
The plan versus the reality...
I myself find the abundance of flowers and plants charming, and very much inducing a latent plant envy in me! Yet, there are some areas where order prevail. The cacti collection are kept meticulously in order in their own cactus houses, free from weeds and labeled.
The cactus collection is fairly large for such a small garden.
Dahlias grow freely in Peru, and quite often one can see them just popping up along the roadside. In this garden there were endless varieties, but not many of them were named.
In the far left corner of the garden was the icing on the cake: a potato museum! Now I realise that I probably am the biggest garden nerd of all times when I get so excited about this, but considering that potatoes have become the fourth largest food crop in the world it is perhaps not surprising that I am in love with the little spud. In Peru, there are over 4000 native varieties so although the museum was quite big only a fraction of all potatoes were on display.
Next to the potatoes, there was also a large insect collection with all manner of fascinating native insects, from butterflies to buggs.
Adding to this, the garden was filled with a surprising range of flowers, from jasmine and fruit trees to Peru's national flower Cantuta (Cantua buxifolia) and a large collection of roses, but to name a few. The micro climate and plentiful moisture makes it a perfect growing environment, and it really displays all the best features of an enclosed garden environment. In other words, it is the exact opposite of my own garden, so all I could do was marvel and enjoy. Overseeing all of this, kindly walking us back to the gate where we came in, was the garden cat. He had such a regal air, it quiet felt as if he was the true owner of the garden.