Mi Jardin Es Su Jardin (My Garden is Your Garden)
My Top Pick For Gardens in Boquete
Flowers everywhere!!! That was my first impression of Boquete which I suppose is most fitting since it is referred to as the "Flower Capital of Panama". In fact in January, Boquete hosts one of the largest flower festivals in the world. I visited Boquete in August so there was no festival, however that did not mean there was a shortage of flower gardens to be explored. In fact, there are a number of, well, quirky gardens if you will, that you can visit for free or a small fee in and around Boquete. There is another similarly quirky garden, the Explorador which is just a few dollars to enter and is like something out of Alice in Wonderland, but it was a few kilometers out of town and would have been about a 45 min walk which I was not really up to. Based on recommendations by our hotel concierge and several guests at the hotel we spoke to, I chose to visit Mi Jardin es Su Jardin (my garden is your garden) which is located literally in the center Boquete and the entrance is free. Mi Jardin es Su Jardin was the perfect choice!
Let me give you a little history about Mi Jardin es Su Jardin in Boquete I learned while I was in Panama. Started by the Gonzalez family, Don Lalo as he was affectionately called, built his dream garden it seems on a one hectare garden that surrounds his house. Don Lalo owned and cared for the property for more than 30 years until he passed away in 2000 at 100 years old. He did not care about charging people to see it, he was just proud to show it to people and got satisfaction from people's reaction of happiness when they saw it. He was known for being a brilliant businessman with a visionary mind.
Mi Jardin es Su Jardin is a gorgeous place to spend the day in Boquete. I thoroughly enjoyed my time exploring the garden, taking pictures and enjoying the beauty of all the different exotic plants and bushes and flowers. You can wander through over 200 species of flowers scattered among the streams, waterfalls, koi ponds teaming with hundreds of fish, and a variety of shrubbery that sculpts the gardens. There are several paths meandering through the property leading you to various beautiful bridges, hidden paths and at times quirky sculptures such as a giant flamingo lawn ornament. There are a few other animal sculptures painted with funky designs, exotic bird houses, miniature buildings, a bridge....well so much to see you just need to check out Mi Jardin es Su Jardin for yourself.
After Don Lalo's death, the Gonzalez family did not have the ability or passion that Don Lalo did to keep up the expansive gardens. They recently sold the gardens to a Korean family that has put a restaurant where the pool used to be and I imagine may begin to start charging an entrance fee (which honestly I would still pay....that is a LOT of work to maintain those gardens!!). I settled for a cup of Boquete's famously tasty coffee and just sat back to soak in the beauty of the gardens before heading back to my hotel to escape the rain that graciously waited for us to finish exploring before threatening to dump down on us on the walk back.
Overall, Mi Jardin es Su Jardin was probably one of my favorite free things to do in Boquete. There is a lot to do in Panama's adventure capital, but if you are like me and prefer just to take in nature's beauty in a relaxed setting, Mi Jardin es Su Jardin is definitely the place for you.