A Blog-reader Stops By for ZooAve

My Visitor at Zoo Ave

Yes, I actually have some regular readers of my blog and several I have never met, some of whom are contemplating retiring in Costa Rica. One from Texas, a bigger birder than me, has visited several times and is possibly going to move somewhere in Central Valley here next year in retirement, with Atenas one option. One “Retired in Costa Rica” Wannabe from California has been planning a nature photography trip here for months, writing me for advice and with questions. She arrived today with a local flight to the Osa Peninsula in the morning but needed something to do today. I took her to Animal Rescate Zoo Ave in La Garita today with her hotel reasonably close to the airport for her flight out in the morning.

We did not finish our walk through the zoo because her camera battery went dead with her other one left in the hotel, but I got a few photos shown below. Note that 4 of the animals in today’s animal gallery or slideshow below were “wild” or not part of the zoo collection!   🙂

Animal Photos

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

More of My Photos at Zoo Ave

One of many flowers at zoo





Part of a magnificent bamboo grove at Zoo Ave

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

Alajuela & La Garita

Museo Histórico Cultural Juan Santamaría, Alajuela, Costa Rica
Kevin’s kind of museum! And a country without an army finds
all forts to be historical! This is across from the central plaza.
Alajuela Plaza Cathedral

Church of the Agony, Alajuela

We stop in La Garita at a plant nursery called a Vivero in Costa Rica
Kevin enjoyed shooting flowers there

We also tried to find a sugar cane mill we had passed earlier in the week, but failed to get on the right country road. So missed that photo op!


Chestnut-mandibled Toucan
RESCATE ANIMAL zooave, La Garita, Costa Rica

Collared Aracari Toucan
RESCATE ANIMAL zooave, La Garita, Costa Rica
Emerald Toucanet
RESCATE ANIMAL zooave, La Garita, Costa Rica
Central American Spider Monkey
RESCATE ANIMAL zooave, La Garita, Costa Rica
Great Curassow
RESCATE ANIMAL zooave, La Garita, Costa Rica
Torch Ginger or Etlingera elatior
RESCATE ANIMAL zooave, La Garita, Costa Rica

Well, there is so much more I could share. It was my second time at this little zoo, gardens, and animal rescue association. I really like it and think it a better (and less expensive) place to visit than La Paz for birds and gardens. Now, La Paz has hummingbirds not here and of course the beautiful 5 waterfalls, but it costs twice as much! And Zoo Ave is just 20 minutes from my house.

This was the next to last day for Kevin and I think he likes ZooAve almost as much as I do. Tomorrow will be some simple little local visits and Monday he flies home.