There was a segment on TV Canarias this morning about the storm, which saddened me on a different level, and that was information that Sunday/Monday’s storm destroyed 60% of the Botanical Gardens in Puerto del la Cruz. Let’s hope that’s one of those statistics which will change for the better as damage is assessed.
There are much worse stories, people have lost homes, thousands of euros-worth of crops have been ruined or are in danger of ruin, and although there was no loss of life, people narrowly escaped death, as hillsides collapsed and cranes fell, crushing cars and walls, but, thankfully not taking life. The economic impact is considerable, at a time when the world economy still struggles, and it wouldn’t be surprising if the stories are downplayed in the press, because the last thing this island needs is to lose tourists who are afraid to come on account of the weather. As several sources have repeated, the last time a storm hit us so badly was five years ago, and the damage, honestly, if all reports are accurate, in tourist zones in the south (the main money-spinning areas) wasn’t nearly as bad as in the north.
So, it isn’t going to surprise me at all if this story gets buried under a) stories with more “human interest” and b) a desire to not put off potential visitors.
Jardin Botanico was created as far back as 1788, when the New World was still exotic and novel, and there was a desire to study and exhibit its wonders. The intent was to cultivate tropical plants in this slightly cooler climate, and once acclimatized to transplant them to royal gardens on the mainland, hence the full name of the Gardens, which is Jardín de Aclimatación de la Orotava (Puerto de la Cruz being a part of that zone at the time).
Today, it provides a soothing place to chill out, wandering the overhung pathways, sun filtering through the branches. On my first visit in 1987, I told my kids stories of how we’d somehow drunk Alice’s magic potion and been reduced in size. What we were seeing were plants with which I was totally familiar – as houseplants in pots! Suddenly, they were towering over me!
These pictures, taken a couple of summers ago, there will give you an idea of how beautiful the gardens were, and how impressive the displays, so right now I am just hoping that they haven’t become just a part of history, and that restoration will be possible.
Many of the trees are over 100 years old, and some 200, or at least they were. Hopefully, there will be more precise news, and hopefully it may not be as bad as it seems right now. I know worse things have happened from a point of view of impacting human life, but the thought that it would take another 100 years to grow one of these trees is awesome, isn’t it. Maybe a reminder from Mother Nature, that what she creates, no matter how we puny humans think we may have helped the process, she can also take away.