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Wild Costa Rica

There seem to be a lot of purple leafed ground covers in Costa Rica, and the ajuga plant is one of them.

Slips and falls while gardening in Costa Rica

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Published on Friday, June 28, 2024

By Victoria Torley



We all have them although gardeners tend to get more than their share. After all, we are out where there are slippery logs, mossy rocks, and snaking vines.

Those vines are a huge hazard, tracing over the paths we patiently cut through the undergrowth and grabbing a toe to try to throw you to the ground. Then there is the general detritus that piles up everywhere...


Other things get us as well. Like the old soda can that was partly covered by weeds or a piece of rusted barbed wire, or even a poorly maintained tool with a bit of rust on the edge.

Letís not forget the foliage ever pick black raspberries without getting a scratch from a thorn even though you wore a long-sleeved shirt? I havenít. And the bug bites that you scratch too much. It seems like everything is out to get the gardener.


And there are the other things, natural to the earth. Fungi that send out spores and give you an allergic sneeze. Bacteria that get into tiny scratches and make them worse (donít forget your tetanus shots). Bits of dirt and dust that get into your eyes... Why are we even out there?


Never mind, we all know why. We are out there for the fresh air and the sun. We are there for the scent of the earth itself, that rough sweet scent that makes you feel a connection with life that is somehow essential.

We are there for the beauty of it all, the scents, the textures, the tastes. We are there because, when we stand up to easy the kinks out of our backs, the view is amazing.

It doesnít matter if we have a long vista that reaches to a lake and hills, or a brief one blocked by trees. We stare and marvel that we are here, doing what we are doing, connected to something larger than we are.

So we accept the accidents. We put antibiotic ointment on the scratches and watch them heal. We treat the bug bites with After Bite or ChiggerX. We put aloe or lotion on the sunburn and remember to wear a hat next time. We grab allergy pills and get tetanus shots. We rub BenGay on aching muscles and sign up for a massage. We know how to cope. 

If really necessary, we see a doctor. Then we wait a day or so (or a month or so) until things are back to normal so we can get back out there.

Why a sudden interest in accidents? Letís just say, that I will be using a cane for a while.

Plant for the week. There seem to be a lot of purple leafed ground covers in Costa Rica, and this is one of them. This one appears to be a variety of Ajuga found in a friendís garden near Dominical which sadly has a climate that is very different from ours near the lake. Plant Ajuga in everything from full sun to shade, although it is a bit more green than deep purple in the shade.

Find more amazing stories about gardening in Costa Rica on the Costa Rica Garden website. Regarding questions on this article, Ms. Victoria Torley, gardener columnist, can be reached by emailing

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