Botanical Garden in Batumi: the plants of life

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Batumi, Georgia June 2012

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Batumi might be well known for its Casinos, beaches and international food. I for one will always remember it for its Botanical Garden. Founded by Russian botanist Andrey Nikolayevich Krasnov (1862-1914), this 112 .5 ha garden is home to 9 phyto-geographical departments: East Asian, North American, New Zealand, South American, Himalayan, Mexican, Australian, Mediterranean (or European) and Transcaucasia humid subtropics. For all of us, who, like me, are not familiar with scientific terms it means you can watch plants and flowers from nine diverse geographical areas of the world.

Chinese Department

Chinese Department

Although the Botanical Garden in Batumi is attributed to Professor Krasnov, the introduction on exotic plants in the garden goes all the way back to 1880´s. The pioneers of plant introduction and subtropical farming were M. Dalphonse, A. Solovtsev, G. Olinski, E. Tatarinov among others. The core idea of creating this garden was to learn more about these, sometimes forgotten, living species: plants and trees. Mission that is still accomplished till today by the Scientific Department of Plant Protection of Batumi, the institution that is responsible for the garden.

When Annika suggested that we should take a look at this garden (being a girl thing and all) I was surprised I did not put up some resistance. The Botanic Garden was 9 km from Batumi, a perfect bike tour, the plan sounded great for me.

So we rode our bikes and were ready to admire what we could of the 2,037 different plants local and foreign in the garden.

After following the bike path that goes along the coast it ended just a couple of km from the entrance of the Botanical Garden. The sign read 1.2 km to the garden. It was a climb. The climb itself was already stunning. The semi-tropical climate reminded me of some places in Mexico, many kilometers down this latitude line. The green trees and humid feeling was already a trip of its own. We arrived in the north entrance. The entree was only 3 Euros and they let us get inside with our bikes.

The Flower

The Flower

I do not know a lot about plants or trees, but I sure can admire beauty when I see it. The garden was full of it. We took time just to take some pictures to the most exotic plants we could get a hold of. The rose garden was one of our favorites. We had also arrived at the perfect time, the golden hours before sunset. We felt really in peace. This place was made just exactly for that reason and it had definitely accomplished its mission. We took the main roads, and in some exotic areas like the Himalayan department we took the walking paths that adventured inside the mountain for some meters. We could hear the river and at times I completely forgot we were in a garden.

Peace Area

Peace Area

The afternoon was soon reaching its end. So we decided to visit Professor Krasnov’s grave and take a peek to the Mexican department which was just at the side of it.

On our way to the grave there was a group of Georgian’s having a picnic. Before we knew it we had two glasses in our hands, a beer glass and a vodka glass. They were very happy that we joined. The group of Georgian’s taught us among other things that when there is only one woman among men, we should all have a toast for her. So we did, one after another.

Our Georgian Friends

Our Georgian Friends

And so we found out the other use for the garden, a quite place where people can gather and drink to life surrounded by life. When they left, the place was clean and trash-less. That told me a lot about how people here take care of this place.

So a little tipsy and happy, we set off to the exit cycling our way to the many other departments we had missed before . On our way we stopped by a house were a lady gave Annika a plant as a present. The plant was sensible to the touch. The plant shrunk as soon as you touched it. At the end we realized that when you have the chance to travel there is more than humans living in our world that we can learn to empathize with.

The Woman and the Plant

The Woman and the Plant

 

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