Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - In 1875, not long after John James Audubon published his monumental "The Birds of America," a Mexican painter and naturalist, Rafael Montes de Oca, published an essay on some other birds of the Americas largely excluded from Audubon’s work – hummingbirds of Mexico.
Encouraged by warm reception of his first publication, Montes de Oca began painting a collection of 51 watercolors of nearly every species of Mexican hummingbird and coupled each of these species with equally stunning Mexican orchids.
For reasons lost to the mysteries of time, Montes de Oca was not able to find a sponsor for his second work and passed his manuscripts and art to one of his pupils, Doña Gertrudis García Teruel de Schmidtlein. This work stayed in her family collections and miraculously avoided the fate of being framed and given away piecemeal as visiting friends recommended.
90 years later, in the early 1960's, Doña Gertrudis’ granddaughter began a career as an editor and realized her ability to publish this rare treasure and share it with the world under the name "Hummingbirds and Orchids of Mexico." Only 1,500 numbered copies of this work were published in English and another 1,500 in Spanish.
Out of print for nearly 60 years, this publication is now a rarity itself and copies sell for several hundred US dollars each or more depending on their condition. In celebration of the completion of the Vallarta Botanical Garden’s new Vallarta Conservatory of Mexican Orchids, a copy of this work (No. 0835) and its accompanying frame-ready prints were just generously donated to the Vallarta Botanical Gardens by Lee and Nancy Chapman, who received it as a gift from Jan Lavender over 20 years ago.
Visitors are welcome to enjoy this unique Mexican artwork displayed at the Vallarta Botanical Gardens from July 26, 2014 to December 13, 2014. Entry to the Garden is only 60 pesos per person and the fascinating plant collections, extensive forest preserve trail system, and engaging activities provide limitless enjoyment for the whole family.
Located 30 minutes south of Old Town at Km. 24 on Highway 200, Vallarta Botanical Gardens offer something to keep every age group happy; from a Rose Garden for the romantic to jungle trails for the adventurous and a Carnivorous Plants area for the younger generation! The Botanical Gardens' vibrant and elegant settings also offer the perfect venue for weddings and special occasions. For more information, call (322) 223-6182 or visit vbgardens.org.
Click HERE to learn more about Vallarta Botanical Gardens.