Jane McGary
Sat, 26 Aug 2006 09:28:38 PDT
Terry Hernstrom asked,

"I have an unusual and selfish request. Have any of you fine people been to 
Santiago, Chile? My wife and I will be there on a business trip at the end 
of October. Would love to visit Public Gardens, nurseries, growers, nature 
preserves etc. Geophyte related a plus.   Any advice or tips?"

I'm sure Osmani Baullosa will be the best source on this, but I can 
recommend some favorites I enjoy as a fellow "outsider":
Not plant-related, but do not miss the superb Museo Chileno de Arte 
Precolombino, in the city center.
Buy any and all Chilean-published plant books you see, because they are 
impossible to get anywhere else! There are two good shops for them in a 
little arcade in the Providencia district, in a pleasant shopping area 
right on the Metro line. The little lane comes off Providencia just before 
Ave. Antonio Bellet, and it has a "pub" with a red London phone booth where 
it intersects with the main street.
For a good plant-related day trip, if there is not too much snow in the 
mountains still, visit the Lagunillas ski area south of Santiago, where you 
will see some snowmelt species in bloom in October. Don't bother to go to 
the hot springs up the same road -- the area around them is completely 
If you can, get over to the coast north of Valparaiso and drive along the 
Panamericana (main highway) to see Alstroemeria species and native bulbs in 
flower, as well as MANY plants that should be grown in California but, 
inexplicably, are not. A pleasant midday stop is the seaside village of 
Pichidangui, where the public beach access spot features a spectacular 
plant community.
The best place to get maps (and also a lot of good geographical books) is 
the Instituto Geografica Militar, which is near the city center in a 
neighborhood of government buildings. I think they have a website.
You will probably find that public plantings are of introduced species, not 
native ones -- just like public plantings almost anywhere! Take the 
opportunity to see the native species during the coastal spring, though 
you'll be too early for the high alpines.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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