Flora Tropica Gardens, Savusavu
We were met at the gate by a giant of a man, paid our fees and stepped into the FTG – the Flora Tropica Gardens and found ourselves beside a pond. I decided my first real Fijian hug should be with Enoch, not a name that any of us would have possibly guessed. Maj took the role as tour guide and off we went. FTG is an officially accredited botanical garden by the BGCI – The Botanical Gardens Conservation International. The BGCI is a plant conservation charity based in Kew. It is a membership organisation working with eight hundred botanical gardens in one hundred and eighteen countries, whose combined work forms the world’s largest plant conservation network.
Up the stairs, reading labels as we went Maj filling in important information, medicinal properties, uses and where they came from. Great shapes.
Unusual – seed pods, young shoots and leaves that look nibbled but totally natural.
On the higher level, we were straight into what would prove to be an amazing collection of palms
The garden is mostly a collection of palms from around the world as well as other fruiting and ornamental plants. The garden opened in 1998 and apart from the existing large raintrees – albizia saman, other plants are no more than fifteen years old. About half of the Fijian palm species are listed as threatened or endangered in their habit, this has been mostly due to clearing for mahogany plantations.
Endangered – Critically Endangered. Categories are decided by surveys carried out by botanists and institutions involved in the world flora. The ICUN or International Union for Conservation of Nature is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental network. It is a union with more than a thousand government and NGO member organisations and almost eleven thousand volunteer scientists in more than one hundred and sixty countries. The Union’s headquarters are in Switzerland and was founded in 1948.
Bear liked the chaps that have their own tripods, I liked the snake skin named after a slitherer, both live in their native Vanuatu. We all loved the patterns left by Mother Nature as old ‘leaves’ dry, leaving their skeletons behind.
At the top of the highest level was a really pale, bluish palm named Bismark. What a looker.
Up here we met the guard cat mid scratch, unaware that his left ear was being munched by a mossie.
Lovely views from up here.
Diamond Joey, Foxy Lady and Nesi of Fiji
The critically endangered Blessed Palm of north west Madagascar
The Stilt Palm of the Seychelles. The rare and endangered Aneityum palm of Vanuatu. The Bottle Palm – extinct in the wild. There was one called the hurricane palm that is threatened, one that was good for headaches and VD, one that made excellent walking canes, several that made good furniture and one that made the best thatched roofs.............
...........even one called Teddy Bear.
ALL IN ALL AN INCREDIBLE COLLECTION OF RARE PALMS
BRILLIANTLY LAID OUT FIVE ACRE SITE