|I squealed with delight when we encountered this pineapple growing in Ella and Ian’s Botanical Garden. Tom looked at me smiling, “Gee, t’s a pineapple. Hold it together!” But, he too, reveled in its beauty.
The theme of the Botanical Garden is orchids, but other plants and flowers abundant in Belize were also incorporated into the vast display.
Simple yet elegant, a single orchid. There were hundreds of varieties, more than we call recall, but Ian knew them all.
Ian made a special point with meeting up with us again after our tour of the enchanting tree houses, to give us a tour of his botanical gardens, a horticulturist’s dream.
|Rich, thick greens surround the dainty flowers.|
|Art in horticulture.|
|The scents throughout the garden were intoxicating.|
|This unique plant is sensitive to touch. Tom touched it and it recoiled. He was impressed.|
|Ian purchased this fountain in Guatemala. On his way back to the resort, he hit a speed bump causing it to fall apart in the back of the truck. Later, it was rebuilt to stand in its full beauty in the Botanical Garden.|
At the end of our exhilarating visit to the massive garden his dear wife Ella had so lovingly created, he took us to a little unmarked hut to discover his soap making facility, where organic soaps are handcrafted using the finest quality essential oils.
|Unusual plants indigenous to Belize adorn the garden.|
Of course, we couldn’t leave without six bars of soap. After the hot, humid day, we were anxious to shower back at our villa at Laru Beya using the naturally scented soaps.
|Another flowering plant.|
By the time we completed our tour, it was already 3:00 pm. Apprehensive about driving the scary road in the dark with a 2 1/2 hour trek ahead of us, we decided to return to Placencia.
|As we approached the exit to the garden, we spotted this locally crafted head.|
When we returned to our villa, we had yet to grocery shop, visit the vegetable stand, refill the rental car (the gas station closes at 7 PM) and get ready to go out for dinner. With the rental car in our possession until 9:00 PM, we’d plan to drive to one of the local restaurants that previously we hadn’t been able to visit on foot.
|As we were about to depart, Ian wanted to show us one more of his venture. We walked the steps into this quaint building to discover it was where their organic soaps are made. The aroma in the little hut wafted through our nostrils sending our sense of smell into overdrive.|
Alas, when done with it all we were pooped, freshly showered, smelling of essential oils, still full from the cheese tasting and we decided to stay in, munch on leftovers, and watch the first episode of Dancing with the Stars. Ah, another fine day and night.
|Bins, bags, and containers were filled with handmade organic soaps. The plastic wrap, as shown in the above roll that is used to wrap the soaps, is biodegradable.|
Are we disappointed we didn’t see waterfalls and ruins? Not at all. After all, our goal has been to do exactly what feels right to us, learning about the people, their food, their work and their dedication to the ecological preservation of their country.
|We chose six of our favorite scents.|
With the production of environmentally favorable products for the people of Belize and their visitors all of whom gain as a result of the myriad health benefits coupled with the beauty of the land and sea. Mission accomplished.
|On the drive back to Placencia we counted seven single-lane bridges, none of which proved to be a problem. With no shoulder, winding mountainous roads, it was dangerous to pass other slow-moving vehicles. Tom was careful, but on a few occasions, I white-knuckled it.|
Skinny cows. And this morning, I poured thick raw, fresh cream, locally produced, into my locally grown coffee. Tonight we’ll have taco salads, made with organic, locally grown lettuce, zucchini, tomatoes, and seasonings with ground steak from the grass-fed skinny cows, all topped with cheese lovingly crafted from the Cheese Factory at Cave’s Branch Jungle Lodge.
Thanks, Ella and Ian Anderson for a full and enriching experience.