Indigenous People in Garden Art

Some manufacturer here is depicting Central American Indigenous People in concrete garden art that is not necessarily accurate of what the early people looked like or blessed by the few indigenous people still left here in Costa Rica. And I’m pretty sure not made by the indigenous people. Yet I like the historical or almost archaeological “look” of this garden art found in several hotel gardens like these 4 photographed at Cristal Ballena Hotel in Uvita which are similar to what I saw at Bosque del Cabo on the Osa Peninsula in July and even the one piece I’ve added to my garden. They remind me of what you see more of in Guatemala and Mexico where the indigenous had bigger cities and left more archaeological ruins & art than the simpler, early agricultural peoples of Costa Rica who are still very important to the history of this country. I will be visiting one of the indigenous people city ruins in April as noted in yesterday’s post, Guayabo. And in my earlier writings you can find several articles on visits to different Bribri villages on the Caribbean Slope or see links at bottom of post.

Uvita is in the South Pacific area which is where the Boruca People lived and still have at least one traditional village. Their Boruca Artisans are famous for the brightly colored animal masks available in all the souvenir shops. They are too bright and unrealistic or “touristy” for me, but I like the “antique” or archaeological look of these concrete depictions of indigenous people, especially when older and weathered or covered in moss. Here’s 4 such “statues” in the gardens of Cristal Ballena Hotel in Uvita . . .

Indigenous People Garden Art
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Indigenous Meditation?

Ever since the gardeners broke my fragile pottery bird in my garden I have intended to replace it with a more substantial or concrete art and finally did that this week. This particular meditating indigenous man statue is one I’ve seen in some of the lodges I visit and liked, but not available in Atenas or even in the viveros (plant nurseries) of La Garita. My gardener sent me to an outdoor arts business on the outskirts of Naranjo de Alajuela and there I found depictions of the indigenous people of Costa Rica.

I haven’t found out yet if he is intended to be “the thinker” or someone in “some kind of meditation,” but the art style (copied of course) is similar to the Pre-Columbian Diquís Culture statues as a part of the Meso-American Pacific Culture. I like it and think it adds a touch of calm and history or maybe even spirituality to my garden. It is made of concrete, thus not as likely to be broken! 🙂

Pre-Columbian Meso-American Style Statue, Costa Rica
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Six on Saturday

One of the other blogs I’ve encountered because of their “like” of mine was “The Compulsive Gardener” who copied another blog’s “Six on Saturday” garden blogging phenomena with her own “Six on Saturday–A Flurry of Flowers.” If you want to learn more, go to the originator’s blog: The Propagator. Or to his 6 on Sat collection and Participant Guide. I don’t plan to do this every Saturday, but thought it would be fun to do it at least one time to help propagate the idea! 🙂 And ohhh, is it hard to limit myself to just 6! 🙂 But here is 6 of my favorite from My Garden Gallery:

1. Triqui-Traque or Flamevine Closeup

Triqui-Traque or Flamevine

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Goodbye to a Good Friend

Garden Art by Anthony

This morning at about 4:00 I said goodbye to my next door neighbor Anthony who has been a special friend this last year, as he was when he lived on the other side of me during my first few months in this house (before he traveled to Spain & Morocco for 9 months). He is the single artist guy, about 8 years younger than me, who is still driven to create. He did my garden art sculpture I’ve shown before and a painting I promised not to publish. You will have to visit me to see it – another contemporary bird!

Though Costa Rica is a great atmosphere for creativity, it is not the easiest place to get lots of different art supplies, especially for his clay and tile work. So he is moving back to the states, not to his native Indiana, but to an art community in Chicago where he can get everything he needs to create including many customers which he also needs at this particular point in his life. And he plans to take classes in a world renowned tile art school there.  So I wish Anthony the best of life in lakeside Chicago and a fabulous new career as an artist in the states.

The house he was in, next door in this same compound, has already been rented and soon I will meet my new neighbor and see what adventures that will bring! And very soon I could be greeting a new landlord, as the whole compound is for sale. I met one lovely couple moving here from Houston who are considering the purchase. They are originally from Louisiana and we hit it off when they visited as “fellow southerners.” It seems that people know immediately when I speak that I’m from “The South.” Wonder why?

We will see what happens. My current French Canadian landlords will still be in Atenas part time in a smaller house, with their main house being built on a Pacific Coast beach north of Jaco. And the now vacant house on the other side of me (Richard’s casita) has a couple moving in for two months that I met through my blog and the local evangelical church, Iglesia Biblical. Change is maybe the most consistent part of life! And it always brings new experiences and new friends! Pura vida!   🙂


The Greatest Threat to the Church Isn’t Islam – It’s Us
Hoping non-subscribers to Christianity Today can get to this linked article by a Nigerian Christian. In many ways Africa is where Christianity is strongest today and there are many things Americans could learn from our African brethren! This article is a good example.

Wednesday with The Lehning’s!

The Lehning’s and Charlie at El Restaurante La Carreta, Atenas, Costa Rica

Finally I get a photo of Tim & Joan Lehning with children Hank, Maggie and David plus me included thanks to our friendly waiter at La Carreta. Tonight, Wednesday Dinner in town at one of my favorite restaurants. 

This morning they did not have breakfast at their hotel (long story) and so I met them at El Balcon del Cafe in town for breakfast at another favorite cafe. Then we walked for about two hours through town seeing what life is like in a small coffee farming town including Joan finding a couple of items she needed at my pharmacy, Don Juan Farmacia. We walked by shops, through the central farmer’s market, bus station, by two schools two parks, through a Catholic Church and on to my house. There my friend Michael had lunch just about ready where we feasted on catered Tico Mexican food: Aztec Soup, Quesadillas, cheese sticks, chicken sticks, nachos, chips and salsas, and assorted drinks. It was fun and I think they like my house and my new cook! And gardens!
Just for their arrival today, my neighbor and artist friend Anthony Jeroski finished the bird nest for my garden that lovingly holds the glass egg created by another artist friend in Nashville, Kevin Hunter. It goes well with the bird sculpture at the opposite end of the same garden. Is my garden developing a theme?
After the kids got a little swim in before the afternoon rain, they rested and met me at La Carreta for dinner and the group photo. Then we walked a block over for ice cream at POPS. A fun and tasty Wednesday with the Lehning’s! It was a joy to have them stop by after their Machu Pichu and Costa Rica surfing trips! Tomorrow morning their taxi picks them up at 4 for the trip to airport and return to Nashville. Thanks for the visit guys!  It was great fun having you! Another good memory in Costa Rica!
Pura Vida!

More Garden Additions

Yesterday (Saturday) I took a taxi to La Garita to visit Vivero Central, my favorite plant nursery (largest in the country). Just walking through the place motivates you to work on your garden!

Kevin Hunter at Vivero Central in March, making a photo of course!

My new garden art is on a tree stump with a hole in a root near bottom that just needed a plant

coming out of it! Pequeño (small) of course! This is what I came up with:
Garrobo en español, like a small stateside philodendron or caladium.
Kind of snuggled into a crack of the tree base, like it would in the jungle!
I was afraid a vine might get out of control or take over the garden.

You just barely notice it at base of tree stump,
but I like the use of that hole for a plant and
think it makes the garden more interesting.
Its an ongoing, creative process that is fun!
And notice how my ground-cover has spread!
It is pilea depressa or helxine soleirolii – wonderful!
Next photo is up close of it:

pilea depressa or helxine soleirolii ground-cover in my main garden

I also got this small planter for my patio/balcony with a red flower that blooms
year-around! Plus it attracts colibri (hummingbirds)! Didn’t get the name of it.
You also see the crotons around one of my front yard palms and barely the
ground cover I added there. Next photo of it:
I haven’t even tried to get the name of this flowering ground-cover – love it!
Got a few cuttings from the apartment manager and it now covers the ground
around three different trees in my front yard. The crotons were already there.

The aloe vera was getting too big for the narrow bed it was in,
so it got a new home of its own in this pot at the end of walk by palma roja
(red palm) and you can see I added some free coleus around the palm.
Not sure that’s a good match, we’ll see. May move it. Had to plant it somewhere.
This pot might later go on the balcony/patio, my medicine cabinet for burns! 🙂
And it had two babies, so I have plenty of aloe around.

I also added two ferns in two bare spots which is another texture this tropical garden needed. And I got a new ceramic pot for my dining room plant which was in a plastic pot. Accomplished at lot!

And if you have wondered about the concrete wall behind my new garden, well, my house is built into the side of a hill. It is a retainer wall above which is the landlord’s driveway on one side (below photo) and a neighbor on the other side (above photo). I have planted Triquetraque or Mexican Flame Vine at top of the wall which will soon cascade down with beautiful orange flowers and cover the ugly concrete. I’m trying to be patient while it grows!  🙂   Photo below (22-July-2015 growth):

Triquitraque or Mexican Flame Vine will someday cover my back wall.
The advantage of being the first one in a new house is I get to help design it!

One of my “regular” taxistas (taxi drivers) is Nelson. He is learning English and helps me with my Spanish and I help him with his English. This is his second time to take me to La Garita and he is patient waiting on me shopping. In fact he walks around with me and seems to enjoy it. I pay him above the going rate for this trip to make it fair for an hour and half+ of his time. And I now have a favorite helper at Vivero Central named Francisco (who gave me the coleus). He is so good at helping me and does pretty fair English and puts up with my Spanish, so more good local friends/helpers. And a tip will assure good service next time. Its my second time with Francisco and he has already remembered me! La Garita is halfway between Atenas and Alajuela and is the plant nursery “capital” of Costa Rica, 14 kilometers (8.7 miles) east of Atenas through the mountains and over the Rio Grande. 

It is always exciting to open the door and go out 
into the garden for the first time on any day.
– Marion Cran

“Open Bird” Garden Art by Anthony Jeroski

“Open Bird” Garden Art by Anthony Jeroski, Garden of Charlie Doggett, Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica, front door view.
Anthony just emailed another suggested name of “Holy Bird” for the holes in it, but holy has many other meanings for me.

Vertical View of Garden Art from front door.
Arrival View or First Impression from the Driveway
In some ways I like this view best – more subtle.

The fired clay sculpture was made of Costa Rican clay by my former next door neighbor Anthony and was fired at the University of Costa Rica the week before he left for his new art experiences in Spain. I wanted it to be like one of the flowers growing out of my garden. At first I looked for driftwood to mount it on but couldn’t find what I had in mind. Then I found this tree stump just tall enough to bring it up with the taller flowers. I think it is just right! Here it is on the stump before installed in the garden:

Once installed in the garden, it sort of looks like the bird is growing up out of the ground.
I got the stump at a rustic furniture shop, Muebles Rusticos
They mostly make rustic furniture out of items like this, including
the table I got there for my terrazzo between the two rocking chairs (next photo)
A place to sit drinks when sitting in the rocking chairs! Costa Rica loves it woods!
Most furniture and house ceilings are wood. And the rustics like this table are popular.
The car is last weekend’s rent car in my driveway in front of the garden.
I am so blessed to have found this house and to live so well for so much less than the retirement center in Nashville! Someone said they heard a rumor that I was moving back. What!? Do you think I’m crazy? I’m having more fun, living better, healthier and cheaper here than anywhere else in my life. Costa Rica is my home now! And I hope this same house for a long time!