Goat Protection



Welcome to Govardhan Garden’s Virtual Tour!

This tour is not what many may expect - a Disneyland-inspired series of pretty landscape pictures as seen on countless nature-related web sites. Instead, it is attempting to show another perspective of ecological farming in the tropics: a connection with nature on a deep spiritual, intellectual and artistic level.

As so eloquently expressed in a famous song by Robert Nesta Marley, “There’s a natural mystic blowing through the air, if you listen carefully now you will hear” - this is exactly what this Virtual Tour is attempting to capture.

In collaboration with globetrotting photographer Juanse ( www.bitacurry.com), our main goal is to inspire a deeper sense of admiration for and understanding of nature, and the various eco farmers
in the tropics who are trying to create role models of sustainable havens. Our intention is to let this project grow indefinitely over time and inspire like-minded stewards of nature.

The commentaries are signed with the initials of the writers, which are currently: S/G (Sadhu Govardhan) and JSe (Dr. Juanse Ramirez). We are both committed to regularly update this
page, so check back at least once a month.

There is a related article,  "Birds at Govardhan Gardens" that includes pictures of most of the bird species living at or frequenting the farm on a regular basis.

If you would like to participate in this project or would like more information, please contact me: sadhu@coqui.net


"A Few Square Feet of Natural Perfection"


This is the abundant life I want to observe - protected by fragile physical
boundaries in the heart of Govardhan Gardens.


This is the world I prefer to live in, far from the self-destructive nightmare we
have created in the name of progress and civilization. It is a luxury of life to
be a steward of even the tiniest piece of protected nature.

Birthing, flourishing, aging and transforming of energy without waste or
contamination are still taking their natural course here.


Despite the wars fought underneath and above the surface,
I feel a calming serenity.

All elements live together as an autonomous and dynamic unit,
interconnected with all of Mother Earth. S/G


 "I am a Photon"

           Three million Kelvin fuse me to life and with a big burst of energy I'm instantly pushed into the big empty.  Constant collisions and chance are my guides.  Eight minutes and nineteen seconds later I reach my destination to ignite another set of reactions with much sweeter consequences.  My arrival unleashes a wave of excitement; everything is bouncing, water is so energized that it falls apart.  A wave of hydrogen awakens the energy required to sweeten this deal.  The oxygen is released, allowing the guy on the keyboard pretending to be me to breathe.

My initial intentions to incite and to excite are displaced by a deeper sense of purpose.  The shapes and forms that have arisen by the likes of me are beautiful.  Now I work for something larger, something that in the end will only be the beginning, as I will surely go up in flames and go back to what I was, light.  JSe

2 weeks later....

...the trunks of the trees are surrounded by a stunning bed of flower petals.


"How long am I allowed to exist?"

These amazing looking flowers are from a species called Herrania purpurea, a very close relative of the more commonly grown Theobroma cacao (cocoa, chocolate tree). There are several dozen cacao types (with hundreds of cultivars) and just like this species, most of them have very sweet, tasty pulp around the seeds. Both, the pulp and the seeds are used to make drinks. This particular cacao is loved by people as well as various jungle dwellers - mostly monkeys (hence the name "monkey cacao) - and has the appearance of a dwarf cacao.

Herrania Fruit

Since this type of cacao is wild and it's commercial potential is only realized and appreciated locally, it will have to struggle for survival. Of the thousands of tropical fruit species existing, almost half are in danger of extinction. The main causes for that sad fact are: the systematic destruction of rainforests (primarily the Amazon and Borneo), and a centralized food industry that pushes all "lesser profitable" species aside. As bizarre as it may sound, we are approaching a time when governments will determine what people are allowed to grow and what not. Every year, an increasing number of plants is being black listed or extinct. S/G



"Bixa orellana"

Names always tell a story.  Botanical names usually tell stories
of morphology and physiology but occasionally they share tales
of randomness with historical consequences.

Francisco de Orellana, a 16th Century Spanish explorer and conquistador,
was inked into the history books as “The man who led the first known navigation
of the Amazon River.”
  Interestingly, his journey to the Amazon was
purely accidental.About two centuries later, when the day came to
name a small shrub with the prized seeds that have painted red everything
from a cocoa drink for a Mayan ritual to your fingers after eating
Cheetos, Francisco de Orellana’s name came to mind - regardless
the fact that he had nothing to do with this plant.

Bixa orellana or achiote is the colonized version of achiotl, the word
for shrub in the Nahuatl language of The People of The Sun.  This prolific
bearer is native to continental tropical America and Asia has been cultivated for thousands
of years.  The seeds of urucum, as it is known in Brazil, have been soaked, boiled
or crushed and used as dyes, natural food colorings or bodily decoration
in many traditional cultures, earning it the moniker Lipstick Tree.




The endosymbiotic theory postulates that at some point in the development of life forms as we know them a small free-living bacteria settled within a larger cell. A mutually beneficial relationship was established where the larger cell would provide shelter to the vulnerable single-celled organism while the endosymbiont would confer additional functional features to the larger cell.

This theory is used to explain how larger more complex eukaryotic cells got their parts or organelles. Among the organelles proposed to be of endosymbiotic descent are the mitochondria, which pays the rent by producing large amounts of chemical energy and chloroplasts that house the molecular machinery required to convert the light energy of the sun into chemical energy. Interestingly enough, both of these organelles have their own DNA, hinting that they were once free before becoming servants. JSe


                                           Banana Birth

The banana "tree" (Musa x paradisiaca) is a large herb that forms "berries" (fruits) parthenocarpically (without pollination). The ovaries contained in the female flowers develop into clusters of fruits, also called "hands". The birth of a banana hand easily matches the most miraculous births in nature.

The process of the plant giving birth to a handful of bananas is an adventurous and mysterious morphological journey. Who would imagine the end result when seeing just the rhizome of the plant? Similarly, most people are not able to see the end result of a society that is built upon the ruthless exploitation of natures resources as if there were no tomorrow. A sustainable lifestyle gives birth to limitless beauty, while a materialistic lifestyle gives birth to false glitters that eventually turn into toxic ashes. S/G

                                     Structure and Precision

                                     Tropical Fern



Nature shows us so many faces – one of them is that of structure and precision, found in ferns (Pteridophytes): strength that supports delicacy – a striking display of unity in purpose. Modern society tends to judge plants by how useful or profitable they are to humans, largely ignoring the countless valuable lessons one can derive from each and every plant. When naturally appearing evolved structure and precision are combined with delicacy and purposeful unity, I see grace, gentle strength and beauty. S/G

  Natural decay = Improved Eco Health

Tropical Tree

  Fungus www.organicfarm.net

Tropical Tree


This parasitic fungus (saprotroph) is feasting on a dead tree stump and is in the process of speeding up the process of wood rot. The result is highly nutritious organic matter that becomes available to a wide range of invertebrate species,

who in turn create more beneficial organic matter; this transformed organic matter is improving the life of countless beneficial soil organisms. Thus, natural decay improves ecological health. While nature improves itself constantly, mankind does exactly the opposite: we pollute and destroy whatever we can, and we create dangerous waste - lots of it: the U.S. alone produces 11 billion tons of primarily toxic waste annually. Millions of tons of toxic waste are dumped into oceans, carcinogenic landfills or, if the waste is particularly hazardous, preferably in foreign regions like Africa. Each of us has the choice to add to the toxic garbage piles of the world or to work on positive solutions, inspired by Mother Nature. S/G



Spira Mirabilis




Shapes and patterns with surprising similarity are observed repeatedly in Nature.  Many thinkers, from ancient Indian scholars to present day physicists, have attempted to understand and decipher the secrets of these recurring motifs.  The Spira mirabilis is a fascinating example. As the size of the spiral increases the shape is unaltered with each successive curve, meaning that every increment in size is an amplification of the present structure.  Growth by copying existing forms leads to symmetrical patterns where the whole is the same as its parts and parts are the same as the whole, which is mathematically known as self-similarity.  With complete disregard for name and arithmetical details Nature uses it masterfully to generate its unparalleled functional beauty that we have much to learn from. JSe



The Bridge 


Bamboo Bridge Govardhan



Already when I planted the first bamboo species at Govardhan Gardens - Dendrocalamus asper -
I knew that I would one day build a bridge. Years later, the first simple pilot bridge made its appearance,
and to me it signifies the unlocking of the path to sustainability. The bridge crosses over to a lifestyle long lost:
that of independence from outside resources and centralized powers. Growing bamboo truly is one of
the main keys to self sufficiency and sustainability, especially for a small-scale eco farmer:
it means growing one's own housing, furniture, food, medicine, tools, windbreaks, erosion
control and an aesthetic functionality that can improve any tropical farm.
Ultimately, it is like crossing over to another life.



The Last One


Phytelepha macrocarpa Govardhan



Today, I planted three palm species – Phytelepha macrocarpa (Ivory Palm), Butia capitata (Jelly Palm) and Pseudophoenix vinivera (Wine Palm). I never searched for palm species like a collector; instead, my main criteria were the usefulness of the species: can the leaves be used for a thatched roof? Does the species attract parrots or other birds in danger of extinction? Does the palm have high quality fruits? Or do the seeds contain a valuable oil? I never went much out of my way to acquire a particular species, but today, when I planted the two Ivory palms (the seeds are used for intricate miniature carvings), I realized that this is the last palm species I actually endeavoured to “hunt” down. 

At one point in life, everything becomes the “last one” or the “last time”. This is part of living in the material world, and it is wise to realize when to stop, just like it is important to know when to start something or how to develop or maintain it. New palm species will still be planted here, but I won’t endeavour anymore to find one specific species.
This was it – the Ivory palm turned out to be The Last One. S/G



There are many ways to define success in ecological agriculture. As soon or as long as the definition involves the term "sustainable", the definition is automatically legitimate. Interestingly, only positive or transcendent energies are sustainable; negative energies, in contrast, are always followed by pain and destruction.

The part of the farm shown here is an image of success: old trees, grown in patterns that control water run off have closed in on each other; only a modest amount of light reaches the surface of the ground, which keeps the soil temperature at an optimal level for beneficial soil organisms to thrive. Additionally, countless fallen leaves are piling up and true topsoil can begin to develop again. Considering that topsoil is almost non-existent in today's cultivated tropical farms, the small area shown in this picture is a remarkable and outstanding success. S/G

Gold or money has become the standard benchmark of success in our society. Ironically, the pursuit of this type of temporary wealth has primarily led to the exploitation of humans, animals, plants and natural resources in general.

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Sadhu Govardhan is an independent thinker, eco-organic farmer, tropical rare fruit connoisseur and researcher. Extensive journeys for over twenty years have allowed him to study indigenous cultures and different life styles throughout the world.

His first publications on philosophical and spiritual topics were published in Europe and translated into several languages. He now lives in Puerto Rico and has dedicated himself to researching and growing tropical food crops and promoting alternative farming methods. He is currently involved with consultant work and inspiring and developing educational organic role model projects in the Caribbean.

read about the project 

I would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to everyone who has helped out this project over the years. Even if I can't acknowledge all of you individually since so many people have supported Govardhan Gardens in so many ways, I certainly remember every one of you.

If you would like to find out more about the tree sponsoring program and other opportunities to help the project, click here

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This revamped page is Govardhan Garden's new "eco library". You can find videos, links, articles and other media about relevant environmental topics.

Please contact me if you know of any additional good links that you think should be a part of this library. Thank you. 

view eco library 

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Tropical Fruits Nursery Photos by Sadhu Govardhan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://organicfarm.net/contact.htm.