Gardens and biotic community

The Urubamba River flows through the Sacred Valley of the Incas for a hundred kilometers, fed by the melt waters of the high mountains of the Vilcanota-Urubamba range, which contains the Sahuasiray, Verónica and Chicón peaks. The many streams and springs that emerge from these and other mountains make the valley an ideal setting for rich ecosystems and fertile farmland.

Urban growth is partly a consequence of the growing hospitality industry, which has expanded to meet increased visitor numbers.

Monoculture is the result of a movement among local farmers towards ways in which they can simplify their work; however, growing a single crop from one season to the next, using artificial fertilizers and chemical pesticides, leads to serious ecological damage.

At Casa Colibrí Ecolodge our approach is based firmly upon conservationist principles, and we have created and maintained a kind of island, where our organic gardens are the result of a meticulous campaign to avoid using any kind of contaminant in the form of artificial fertilizers or chemical pesticides, and to eliminate the residue of previous use.

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Researchers in the fields of history and botany have concluded that during the Inca period a complex agricultural calendar was employed in order to calculate with great precision the right time to embark upon every kind of agricultural activity. This calendar was based upon natural cycles, which were followed by farmers as they sought to establish when crops should be planted for the best possible outcome.

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Chiwanway (Pyrolirium aurantiaca)

This plant grows in specific areas, particularly on higher ground, and its flowering announces the season for readying the soil in preparation for planting such areas.


Qarwaypiña (Stenomesson miniatun)

The flowering of this plant announces the beginning of the rainy season (September-October). When these flowers are seen, local farmers know that the rains are approaching and that it is time to complete maintenance of drainage channels and repair reservoirs.


Ulluypiña (Eustephia coccinea)

This flower also announces the coming of the rainy season, alerting local farmers to the need to complete those tasks required to take full advantage of this season of the year.

In addition to these flowering plants used to predict the seasons, other plants have also been employed traditionally to identify or foretell certain natural phenomena. The agricultural calendar developed by ancient Peruvians also incorporated information regarding the appearance or disappearance of certain animal species.

However, it should be remembered that climate change has meant that, in many cases, such indicators can no longer be relied upon. This is another unfortunate consequence of global warming.

The species we have listed here are referential, for many more plants have been identified as having played a role in the traditional agricultural calendar developed by the people of ancient Peru.

Those ancient Peruvians understood that the events we see in the natural world are not isolated; in nature, everything we see is the product of a complex interaction.