The duPlooy Story …
by Judy duPlooy
Just before Christmas in 1987, Ken and I loaded our five children and dog into our Suburban and left our home just outside of Charleston, South Carolina to head for Belize. After an adventurous road trip through Mexico, (try this with 2 teenagers, a pre-teen and 2 pre-schoolers, all girls!); we found ourselves in San Ignacio, a quaint town in Western Belize, known locally as “Cayo”.
After getting stuck in the mud 4 times in one day, we took this as a sign that we should start looking for a house. At this point we had been in Belize for just 3 days. So we drove for six miles on the unpaved “Benque highway” and 4 more on a very rough road and somehow managed to find the isolated 20 acre farm some new friends had told us about the previous day.
Next we made our way down to the Macal River and were in awe of the majestic limestone bluff facing us, along with the beauty of the river and large sandy beach area. So without any hesitation we went to look for the owner and signed a contract without a survey and ignoring the fact that the farm had no running water and only a small rainwater collection tank, not nearly enough for a family of 7. And no electricity … continue The duPlooy Story
Belize Botanic Gardens – 1993
The construction of the Botanic Gardens is thanks to Ken. He realized early on that he needed something to keep him out of a house filled with 6 women and so he began to dabble in “gardening”. Several thousand plants later it was decided that something had to be done to justify his new “hobby”. So in 1993, in consultation with Brendan Sayers from the National Botanic Garden at Glasnevin, Dublin, 45 acres located next to the jungle lodge, that we had purchased back in 1987, was officially designated as the “Belize Botanic Gardens”.
This non-profit entity was, at the time, the only botanic garden in Belize and today it continues to be the largest.
Despite fighting heart disease for many years Ken worked enthusiastically in the garden until his death in August 2001. His ability to tell wildly exaggerated tales is still much missed by those who knew him.
Belize Botanic Gardens – Today
We’ll just skip a few years and lots of stories and see what’s happening now. In 2018 the jungle lodge was sold with the idea of my being able to devote more time and effort to realize the Gardens’ potential.
As a result, a number of changes have been made. Within the last year we have built a new front-office and an 8-Room Guest House, reworked the Visitors’ Center, adding a kitchen where tasty, home-cooked meals can be prepared for visitors staying at the Guest House. New study programs have been developed and a number of areas in the Garden have been enhanced, including the addition of the all new Palm-area.
At both BBG and the Garden Shop in San Ignacio, which opened in 2015, we offer landscape consultation, along with the sale and installation of plants, fruit trees, soil mixes, coconut fiber mulches and organic fertilizers & pesticides.
In 2017, realizing there is a growing market in Belize for health products, we added organically grown produce and other health related products to our inventory at the Shop.
To have your in-country questions answered call:
671-3322 or 651-3321
or email: firstname.lastname@example.org