There are spaces that become shelters, places that through the senses find each other again, and you begin to remake the link that unites you with the planet. One deep breath in this place and you let it all be worth it, exhale and that's it, you're a new man!
Discovering the Botanical Garden of Bogotá completely, in a single jerk is unthinkable, however, to give shape to this tour I have the help of David Andrés, one of the Garden's experienced biologists.
As we walk, he tells me historical details and we do a review of José Celestino Mutis (the wise man who gives this beautiful place its name); a portrait of Enrique Pérez Arbeláez, founding priest of the stage; We are talking about José Jerónimo Triana, the most important botanical doctor in the country's history and at the same time, we recognize María Teresa Murillo, the first lady of botany in Colombia. All heirs of the work of the first botanical expedition and, of course, icons of the garden.
At that moment we stop and Andrés tells me “There are many ways to explore the garden and none is enough to detail its 19.4 hectares; however, today we are going to visit it or rather to try to discover it little by little, by scenarios ”this is how this exploration begins.
The setting is a plain of intense green crossed by short paths with marking stones. Although the hand of man has intervened the space, nature is the main protagonist of the story. The garden is extensive, it is that there are 194,000 square meters of green under the open sky, where the air flutters at will between the leaves of the trees, the fruit trees and some flowering plants.
A first scenario: the Waterfall. Tall ferns like green umbrellas stick to the roof of the place, water runs between the rocks, beams of light are projected and, suddenly, a short waterfall echoes in the background. Immediately an audacious and small bird appears, takes the liquid and again, quickly, disappears from the scene; the picture is perfect.
We continue along a path, a short ascent and there is the second place: the moor area. A natural emulation with plants and species very typical of this ecosystem. The senses are ready and the scene too: sandy lichens, velvety mosses and paramuna vegetation; Then Andrés lets out a phrase "the moor is the origin of life" and explains to me, excited, how it opens up and colonizes the mountains of the country. Here he gives me a vital piece of information "Colombia has the largest moorland in the world: Sumapaz and, in addition, the largest extension of these ecosystems: about 62% of the world's moorland is located in Colombia" Impressive!
The exploration of this area ends in the third scenario: the viewpoint of the páramo, a kind of panopticon from which the green of the garden shines, the trees stand out tall and lush with the colorful vines that surround them: poet's eye or susanitas everywhere . From there Andrés integrates this first section of the route and explains to me “This is the only Botanical Garden in the world that has flora of the moor in its space, it is a privilege”. He affirms, then, that from this height the water is carried towards the waterfall trying to simulate the water cycle "from the moor area of the garden we bring the water, there is a whole water circuit that begins at the top and ends in the mirror of the waterfall, the idea is to expose the cycle of life, the water cycle ”.
We descend and arrive at the cloud forest, the fourth station of this journey, the path is marked by the urapanes who beat their branches from above, the snapping of leaves and sounds to the rhythm of the wind. Then closing the passage, in the background an imposing plant stands out: the walnut, the Bogotá tree, as soon as I get close, I perceive its essence ... a citrus aroma serves as an epilogue to this section.
The green of the garden is totalizing and, nevertheless, some tonal pieces appear between its corridors that embellish it even more. We enter the path of the orchids and bromeliads, a place of natural polychromies; there the notion of time is lost and the gaze is lost among the purple of each petal, the delicate silhouette of the orchids and, of course, the angular shapes of the bromeliads. Splendid!
As we walk, Andrés David only tells me “you have to know where you come from to know what to tell” and, immediately afterwards, I see a great monument, an ancestral tribute, the next place: La Maloca. A building made by hand by indigenous Uitoto, with royal palm, vines and yarumos. La Maloca is a tribute from the Botanical Garden of Bogotá to the Amazonian people and the country's ethnic groups. Right there there is a "chagra" (a kind of millenary garden where plants are planted) that serves to expose the ancestral cosmic order. Magic!
We visit more places in the garden: the rose garden full of delicate shades and shapes, a lively, romantic and intimate show. Then we go through a pergola with vines that surround the entire structure and suddenly an intense orange: "Mutisia Clematis" the flagship flower of the garden because it is a species that José Celestino himself could not decipher, and was baptized with the surname of Mutis by the Swedish botanist Carlos von Linneo, scientist who defined the names and surnames of all plants in the 16th century. We walk a little further and the most striking and pampered plants of the place emerge: ancient saints, poppies, amaranths, achiras, digitalis, lilies and dahlias, we are in the exotic garden, a paradise.
Our tour ends between azaleias, cinchona plants and Bogotá tea leaves: aroma, legend and pure nature in the Jardin del Fundador. We crossed a couple of trails and suddenly very organized crops of legumes, tubers and some fruits appear, a tribute to natural work, a semblance of the agricultural wealth of the country in Bogotá, we recognize the agroecological garden.
The guide only extends his right arm, like someone opening a curtain, and the green of his uniform links him almost immediately to the scene, at that moment he only aims to say: “how do you see, each plant has a story to tell; here there are no scripts to talk about the garden, we only say what we know, learn and feel "a handshake and with vehemence Andrés concludes" coming to the Botanical Garden day or night, alone or accompanied ... to come many times is to meet in different ways , it is always a different experience ”captivated by everything, I only go to answer that it is true and that“ the garden is infinite ”, a unique representation of Bogotá.