Sunday, August 25, 2013

Batumi Botanical Gardens

Nearly 10 kilometers north of Batumi, Georgia is a massive 111 hectare botanical gardens called the Batumi Botanical Gardens. This is the most developed botanical gardens in Georgia and it deserves world recognition. The gardens have many historical buildings, some of which house the families of workers, and others house offices of botanists and directors. The gardens have a small herbarium that houses a few thousand specimens from around Batumi and others collected from the gardens. The Soviet Union provided much funding for the gardens in the past, and since the fall of the USSR, private investment has continued to fund development and maintenance of the park. The gardens are currently building many new greenhouses to replace the older outdated greenhouses.The grounds are quite expansive with many roads and trails. Everyone says that seeing the gardens in a single day is impossible, but you can at least see the areas that interest you.

Pictured above is the first map of the gardens. The left side shows the Lower Park in detail with numbers highlighting specific plants. On the right is a map of the whole garden, which comprises of 21 different "parks" or sections.


This thick foamy bark may not look so familiar but in fact you are looking at the Cork Oak (Quercus suber), the source of cork for wine bottles.

Above are some kiwi vines that I found engrossing a tree's lower branches.

A lush view from the Gardens looking down to the Black Sea.

A banana flower from a Musa basjoo plant. This is known as the Japanese Fiber Banana because it is commonly used as a source of banana textiles and cloth in Japan. Unfortunately the fruits aren't edible.

This is an example of the Bamboo forests at the garden. The type of bamboo is Phyllostachys edulis. This bamboo can grow a hundred feet tall and yields edible shoots. The thick and sturdy stems have many uses, and I assume that it's from these stems that vendors in Batumi make their souvenir bamboo creations.

This tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) fell during a strong storm and created a walkway between two paths in the gardens. The tree survived despite the shock and new shoots began to grow out of the fallen trunk. Now the tree has many trunks and is quite an interesting specimen, and it's still a functional bridge.

An unripe Japanese Persimmon (Diospyros kaki) from one of many such trees in the gardens.