The flourishing Costa Rica botanical garden showcases more than 2,000 species of exotic tropical plants from around the globe in its 11 gardens on seven hectares (17.3 acres). The popular Costa Rica tourist attraction is located in Costa Rica’s Central Valley in the artisan town of Sarchi, just north of the main town center.
Visitors can stroll two kilometers of trails through the beautiful gardens; more than 40% of the gardens are wheelchair accessible with ramps and sidewalks. There is a large diversity of tropical plants, from very rare plants to tall palms, succulents, orchids and trees filled with flowers and fragrance. Plants originate from Costa Rica, Guyana, New Zealand, Madagascar, Japan, the Bahamas, Java, Brazil, India, and Korea.
There is a succulents garden, a topiary labyrinth of hibiscus, a palm garden, an orchid garden, a selection of hardwood trees in danger of extinction, a garden of bromeliads that provide watery homes for frogs and flowers for hummingbirds, and a collection of Zingiberales with heliconias, Calateas, Bananas and Gingers. An orchard of fruit trees and bushes produces Malay apples, blackberries, mangoes, guavas and more – visitors are permitted to pick the organic fruit and eat it. There is a large playground for children, and many ponds with aquatic plants. The River Trojas, flowing along one side of the property, adds the refreshing sound of running water. There are labels for each plant and tree giving scientific and common names.
The botanic garden has an educational nursery greenhouse and holds events such as workshops, dance performances, art exhibitions, small open-air concerts, and weddings.
Who is Else Kientzler?
Else Hick Kientzler was born in Germany, and at the age of 19 began working in 1943 in the Kientzler nursery in Bad Kreuznach in the Rhineland region of southwest Germany. She fell in love with the nursery owner’s son, Ludwig Kientzler Jr., and they married in 1945. They continued working in the nursery while creating their own family with three children. When her husband suddenly died in 1960, Else had to take over running the nursery with her widowed mother-in-law. They eventually moved the successful nursery to Gensingen, Germany, where the headquarters of the Kientzler group of companies is now located.
The family company opened Innovaplant in Sarchi, Costa Rica in 1994. The agro-business exports ornamental plants around the world, and is a subsidiary of the Kientzler floriculture companies in Germany. Else Kientzler’s son, Ludwig Kientzler III, created the Costa Rica botanic garden for education and environmental conservation. When it opened on July 27, 2006, Ludwig dedicated the garden to his mother in recognition of her work. Else Kientzler passed away on Mar. 26, 2010.
The Else Kientzler Botanic Garden is open every day from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Guided walks are available in English, Spanish and German with advance reservations, or you can go on a self-guided tour.
Article by Shannon Farley