Monarchs of Michoacan with Denver Botanic Gardens – Day 1

Guest blogger – Sarada Krishnan, Director of Horticulture at Denver Botanic Gardens

Mexican Journal 2010: Day 1 – Morelia

Leading the ‘Monarchs of Michoacán’ tour for Denver Botanic Garden, arranged by Reefs to Rockies, I am joined by a group of ten Gardens’ supporters, whose enthusiasm and love for nature and gardening is self-evident. Our first stop of this 6-day tour is the historic city of Morelia in the state of Michoacán in Central Mexico. Under the Spanish influence in the early 1500’s, the city was built in baroque-style, colonial architecture. Dominating the city’s architecture are the Cathedral and the Aqueduct.

Cathedral in historic Morelia, Mexico, a UNESCO World Heritage City

We started the day by boarding a trolley, which took us on a half-day city tour pointing out all the important colonial architecture and history of this city, including the numerous churches. A couple of adventurous souls within our group even attended the 7:00 AM mass at the Cathedral on this beautiful Sunday morning! The Cathedral, officially known as the Cathedral of the Devine Savior of Morelia, is an imposing building of pink stone and was built between 1660 and 1744. Our tour took us through the city which consists of systematically arranged streets and plazas built in anticipation of growth back in the 16th century. Surrounding most plaza are formal gardens with perfectly manicured trees and shrubs. Our next stop was the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Guadalupe, followed by a visit to the Candy Museum (Museo Del Dulce).

Formal Gardens in Morelia, Mexico
Orchidarium in Morelia, Mexico

Of course, a tour is not complete without visiting a place of botanical interest! So, in finding out that there was an Orchid Museum (Orquidario) within a short distance from our hotel, a few of us plant nerds ended up at the Orquidario. Though the display itself was not very significant, I am now in possession of a tissue-cultured Laelia autumnalis orchid to add to our collections. The advantage of acquiring tissue-cultured plants is that they can be transported internationally without quarantine since these plants are grown in a soil-less, sterile medium without any contaminants. 

Tomorrow, we are off to Tlalpujahua to visit the Sierra Chincua Monarch Sanctuary.