We spent a good couple of hours in the gloriously exotic Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca, in the heat of the day mind you, so we were rather thankful for the large shady trees and high brick walls. The garden is a former Dominican Monastery and within the grounds of the Church of Santo Domingo, which itself dates back to 1575.
You can only gain access to this garden at certain times of the day and only with a guide, so being anxious to see inside we took the first available, in Spanish. Well they do say the best way to learn a language is to be amongst it, so for 2 hours we listened intently and nodded enthusiastically as our guide pointed out the various wonders. But did understand enough to glean that the name of the garden ‘Jardín Etnobotánico’ refers to a collection including culturally as well as biologically important indigenous wild plants, many – especially maize – long ago domesticated. The guide spent a long time on maize – a long time. Even the Mexicans were stifling yawns. But we’re now experts on the impact past, present and future of this incredible plant. They had examples of wild maize and domesticated maize. The wild maize has hard durable seeds. The domesticated maize meanwhile… You get the picture? In any event, we’re now experts… any questions?