Lirio Caminante, Trimezia gracilis

Thanks to one of the volunteers on iNaturalist, I now have a species name for that “cute smiling” flower I photographed at Arenal last month. The scientific name is Trimezia gracilis and the most used common name is Liro Caminante, with a less-used common name of Falsa Orquidea. You can see a map of where they are found around the world and read more information about them on Here’s that one photo again and I’m proud to be first to share it on iNaturalist! 🙂

Lirio Caminante, Trimezia gracilis, at Arenal Observatory Lodge & Trails, Costa Rica.

¡Pura Vida!

Mexican Silverspot & A Wasp

I’m not sure if the wasp was challenging the butterfly for the flower or just happen to pass by. 🙂 But as usual, neither stayed long! This is a common butterfly and you can see one more in my Mexican Silverspot Gallery and how different the other side of their wings are; but the flower is what’s unusual and at Guayabo Lodge was my first time to see it. It is a “Red Vein Indian Mallow” (Abution striatum) sometimes incorrectly called a “Chinese Lantern” and one of the Ticos there called it a “bottle flower” in Spanish, “Flor de botella.” I will do a later post on just this flower with more information and better photos of the flower. 🙂

Mexican Silverspot & a wasp on a Red Vein Indian Mallow flower, Guayabo Lodge, Turrialba, Costa Rica.
Continue reading “Mexican Silverspot & A Wasp”

Aloe Vera Blooming?

Aloe Vera with Bloom
My Garden, Atenas, Costa Rica

This particular aloe plant was one of only 2 or 3 plants in my garden when I moved into this house 3 years ago this April. When I planted my big garden I moved this into a big pot, first on my terrace and then here at the end of the sidewalk of my wrap-around garden, the punctuation mark if you please! First the pot was here, then it outgrew the pot and I placed it in the ground and so maybe that is why it is blooming; it likes the ground better than a pot? Or it drains better and they do prefer dry soil. Anyway, I thought this was interesting because I have had aloe plants most of my adult life in TX, TN & FL and this is the first I have seen bloom! Reminds me of a cactus bloom and it may be a type of cactus. Of course it is also important to me as part of my medicine cabinet, my source of treatment of all burns, both physical and sunburn. There is nothing better on the market! And I have another aloe plant not quite this big, plus this one is growing babies! Stop by for a baby aloe!

an interesting article in

Joy Us garden

garden. create. make the world a more beautiful place.

¡Pura Vida!

Red Passion Flower

Red Passion Flower
This is same family as the more common purple passion flower which we
also have here in Costa Rica. Several neighbors have this red variety, 
and like the purple one is also a vine that can take over other plants.
Atenas, Costa Rica

See my photo gallery, FLORA & FOREST for many more tropical flowers here. 

Flower on Today’s Walk

Unknown Flower seen on Today’s Walk Downtown
Atenas, Costa Rica


Hope everyone is keeping up with Futbol and noticed that Costa Rica is going to the World Cup in Russia and the U.S. is not! (On that chart only the top 4 teams go.) For Central and North America Costa Rica ranks second only to Mexico. Of course a little country is not expected to go real high in the finals with bigger, richer teams like Brazil, England, Spain, France, etc. But what an honor for Costa Rica! I wear my red, white & blue Costa Rica Futbol shirt with pride on game days!

Torch Ginger or El bastón de emperador . . . . . . . . . . . . . . + Nothing Escaped Nate

Torch Ginger or El bastón de emperador
My Garden, Atenas, Costa Rica

Torch Ginger or El bastón de emperador
As seen from the street in front of my house
Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica

And don’t you love the Spanish name for this flower? El bastón de emperador translates to “The Emperor’s Staff.” This particular one was a gift from my gardener. The first one I got and paid for died because it was in my busy flower bed and did not get enough sun like this gets in the front yard. Note that I have 3 flowers at different stages, bud, small flower and large flower. It is one of my favorite tropical flowers and I have wanted one since I moved here. They are hard to find with most nurseries (viveros) not having any in stock. But my gardener Cristian knows where to find things!  🙂  Like when I wanted the Maraca plant (Shampoo Ginger) none of the nurseries had one, so his partner Alfredo got mine from his uncle’s yard! Wow! They are more than gardners. They are good friends!

And in spite of the horrible weather we have been having, I still have flowers blooming!  🙂

Schools have been closed since Wednesday and most government offices. Everything was closed yesterday (Thursday) the main day it hit us with medium high winds and very heavy rain, closing many more roads including parts of the two main highways to Atenas because of mudslides. The saddest was a mudslide just on the edge of Atenas that killed a little boy and destroyed many houses. He was the only death in Atenas. For all of Costa Rica, Nicaragua & Honduras I heard this morning that 23 were killed and 27 missing. The major causes of death are drowning and buried by mudslides, though some in auto accidents. Here is a locally produced slideshow video of rescue and cleanup efforts.  Or the usual live video from  And the Tico Times Article in English. 

If this is just a “tropical storm,” think how bad it will be as a hurricane, which is what it is becoming tonight (Friday) when it hits Cancun, Mexico and moves on to the U.S. Gulf Coast, possibly New Orleans by Sunday morning. This could be a “biggie!” 
Costa Rica is directly to the left of the word RAIN
In Atenas everyone stayed home yesterday (Thursday) with strong winds and heavy rain all day and all night. Today we are getting a little sunshine and I walked to town. It is interesting that all hills, cliffs, dirt walls have lots of water coming out at the bottom. A hill near my house has so much water coming out that it is literally a little creek pouring down to the street drainage ditch. Government and schools are still closed, but banks and most businesses open and we had the regular Friday morning Feria or Farmer’s Market. So almost back to normal with a few trees down and spotty electrical outages. But me and my house are good on all counts! I can even make this blog post, meaning internet works! That’s a big deal here!    Here are some more  photos and videos of Nate Hitting Costa Rica from Tico Times.

From Behind the Big Rock: African Tulip Tree!

From behind the big rock at Roca Verde entrance
you see the red-orange flowers of our African Tulip Tree.
Atenas, Costa Rica

African Tulip Tree
Zooming in on another tropical tree that blooms for about one month.
Atenas, Costa Rica

I walk about half a mile up a steep hill to Chef Dan’s house 2 or 3 times a week for one of his gourmet meals for dinner. Monday I had Shrimp Alfredo with side salad and Italian bread. Tonight I walked up the hill for Curry Chicken Salad Wrap with side salad and mango chutney. I eat pretty well most of the time to be living in the rainforests of Central America!  🙂

I begin my ascent at this big rock near the front gate and of course come back by it on my way home for this view. The front side of the rock is often covered in moss, thus the name “green rock” (roca verde).
This big tropical flowering tree is by the guard house at the front gate but you see it better from behind the big rock! It is a native to Africa but planted in many tropical areas including Costa Rica as an ornamental tree. The scientific name is Spathodea campanulata or commonly called African Tulip Tree. What’s really neat about all the tropical trees with beautiful blooms here is that they nearly all bloom in different months, so that we almost always have some tree blooming somewhere in Costa Rica! What will I see next week in the Caribe?

For other blooming trees in Atenas, see my Walking Atenas photo gallery

Or for the whole country, see my larger Flora & Forest photo gallery

Rainy Season, el invierno, winter, or “Green Season” is at its peak in Central Valley in September and October when we get the most rain, typically 6-8 hours a day, mostly in late afternoon and evening. Great for sleeping! November is the “shoulder” month or when it tapers off and by December no rain for 6 months! Sad to me. I prefer the rainy season! Not only is it greener and cooler, but fewer American tourists!  ¡Tranquilo!   🙂

Another interesting phenomenon in rainy season is that while Sep-Oct are the heaviest rains in Central Valley, it is also the time when the Caribbean gets the least amount of rain! Thus I always plan my trips there in Sep-Oct!  🙂   Also note that both coasts are coastal rainforests which get rain year around, even when it is not rainy season here. I would like living there for that but not for the always hot and humid condition of the beaches. (Though the NW corner called Guanacaste is the desert area and pretty dry year around.) So I think the Central Valley is the best place to live with easy access to the whole country and the best overall weather! In fact the PR slogan of Atenas is “el mejor clima del mundo” or “the best weather in the world.”

One realtor’s take on it: 
And the Canary Islands also claim the best weather in this interesting video:
But that is the other side of the world! Different continent!

A Rare, Unique Jewel Hiding in My Garden

Hiding in the shadows of taller Red Ginger plants & their own tall stalks,
Cellphone photo of Zingiber zerumbet, also known as
Shampoo ginger, bitter ginger, and pinecone ginger
And my gardener calls it Moraca plant 
 Atenas, Costa Rica

Left of center behind and below Red Ginger
 (click photo for enlargement)
 Atenas, Costa Rica
A description in Wikipedia       A TripAdvisor photo post from Pura Vida Gardens visitors
My first post on this plant as a baby 2 years ago  –  I’ve given some to a neighbor who has about this many blooms this year also, all from my one little beginning plant. A hidden jewel for me!
Or a Google Search of images of this flower       A FloriData description
Use as an Alternative Medicine        Useful Tropical Plants  post
A ScienceDirect article on the plant        CABI scientific info & distribution maps
And Google gives many more information sites on this rare and unique plant.
Of course for all flowers I see here: my Photo Gallery Flora & Forest
are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty 
outvalues all the utilities of the world. 

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tropical Blossom Haiku

In My Home Garden
Atenas, Costa Rica


Environmental agency orders suspension of pineapple farming project
which means that the American imperialists (Del Monte) cannot destroy any more of our wetlands and forests. Yay! I’m glad that the government here is defending our environment. This particular case is on the Osa Peninsula near Corcovado where I just traveled. Costa Rica is recognized internationally for protecting its land and environment and has 25% of the land set aside as national parks or reserves. And don’t feel sorry for Del Monte. There is plenty of legal land they can build pineapple farms on with plenty of cheap labor to make them rich!

The Dollar is at its highest value in Costa Rica right now, meaning a good time for U.S. people to visit or vacation or buy property here when you get more colones for the dollar, as much as C581 this article says. It had been at around 530 for a long time which was good, but this is better!  🙂 Best in the last 7 years says the article!