Because of logistical reasons involving an angry Georgian lady, my colleague Alice and I had an unexpected day off, so we decided to find the Botanic gardens. Opened in 1912, Batumi’s Botanical Gardens (Georgian, try this for information in English) is one of the highlights of the area. We caught a bus, which included a courtesy charon fruit from the driver, and eventually found our way into the gardens.
The gardens are very impressive, covering 107ha, divided up into several different phytogeographical zones. We were both ready to check out the bamboo plantation – I’ve never been in one – but were tragically stopped by the f*cking mosquitoes, which were possibly tiger mosquitos – I swear I have never had such bad bites, so many or such a bad reaction!
Moving on, we kept bumping into a German birding group, helpfully pointed us at a bird darting high in the trees… a Krüper’s nuthatch (Sitta krueperi)! Also pretty sure we heard a white-backed woodpecker. No pictures due to rubbish camera.
Elsewhere in the gardens, was this lovely little Japanese garden with frogs, toads and koi.
There are also a few graves in the park, including that of the founder and this of Sergei Hinkul, the first head of plant introduction.
There does seem to be a major problem with what looks like an invasive, Ivy-like plant. It has blanketed the cliffs between the gardens and the sea, swallowing up whole trees and buildings. There’s signs of where it’s been cut back from creeping up the trees in the park itself, and I’d guess it must be a threat to the gardens but I can’t find any information about it online.
At the far end of the park, we found a cafe for a lunch of beer and katchipouri. Near to the cafe was an ornamental seafront park, with campsite, and just beyond that a lonely disused rail station looking out at the Black Sea.
An excellent day. However, at the exit of the park was a collection of little cafes and a shooting gallery where the targets were silhouettes of birds-of-prey…