The duPlooy Story (continued)
Continuing our story…
We then announced to our daughters, who ranged in age from 4-16, that we had just bought a farm. The three younger girls were thrilled. They had the beautiful river in which to frolic in and rolling hills to explore and when they saw the beach and the 20-ft rock from which they could jump into the river, the little girls shouted with glee. When they found out that we weren’t kidding about the lack of running water and electricity, the two eldest teenagers shouted, but not with glee.
Soon everyone was enrolled in local schools and adjusting to the adventure of living in Belize, including the 10-mile ride to school over bumpy dirt roads or getting there via a motorized canoe down the Macal River.
Building the Lodge & Garden
When we first arrived on the property the only existing buildings were a farm house, where we lived until we could build more suitable accommodations for 7; and a small tool shed, today the lodges main office.
Within a week of purchasing the property, Ken hired a crew of workers and the planting and building began. Despite setbacks, wailing and strong differences of opinion, duPlooy’s Jungle Lodge opened 9 months later with 6 guest rooms and dining room & bar.
From the beginning the decision was made to have an organic property and the battle to control pests by natural means was on … until we noted that with minimal intervention on our part, not many plants were being lost.
Over the years, additions such as running water, refrigeration, tables & chairs and proper sized stoves have added much to the place, however the most noteworthy change has been in the property itself.
At the time of purchase, a few citrus were the only trees on the property, as everything else had been cleared away by the previous owner for farming and raising cattle.
When I look around now it is hard to imagine this. Since 1987 there have been hundreds of trees planted and thanks to the lush tropical climate in Belize, many of the trees look like they have been around for many decades.
After selling the Lodge in 2018, I moved into a small house tucked away at the far end of the Garden. Today I enjoy and am grateful for having the time to devote to developing BBG and to make it the best Garden it can be. And it doesn’t get any better then this … having a botanic garden for a front yard.
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