Tag Archives: Home & Garden

New Trend, New Building: Huatulco’s First Home for the Elderly

Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 11.23.58 AMBy Deborah Van Hoewyk

As the first U.S. and Canadian baby boomers age through retirement—those born in 1945 are now 70—Mexico is jumping on the assisted living bandwagon, offering facilities, activities, and medical care at far more affordable rates than in the States, and somewhat more affordable than in Canada, but with way better weather! Puerto Vallarta, Lake Chapala, San Luis Potosí, Mexico City—all boast northern-style assisted living facilities that are marketed north of the border. Continue reading New Trend, New Building: Huatulco’s First Home for the Elderly

Bamboo: Sustainable Super Grass

Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 11.00.05 AM.pngBy Kary Vannice

I’m sure you remember that children’s story about the three little pigs. The one where the wolf huffs and puffs and blows their straw house down. Well, no offense to the pigs, but they used the wrong grass! There is, in fact, a grass that is just as structurally strong as the brick house that fended off that nasty wolf.

You’re probably wondering in what crazy science lab they are cooking up this new super-grass. But humans have been building structures out of it for centuries. Continue reading Bamboo: Sustainable Super Grass

Rent, Buy or Build in Oaxaca

By Alvin Starkman, M.A., J.D.

We didn’t have millions in the bank when we decided to retire early and move permanently to Oaxaca. But we did have some savings and we sold our Toronto residence, which gave us the option of buying a home or building one in the state capital. We opted for the latter. On the other hand, many snowbirds and expats of reasonable means elect to rent. While the rules for foreigners buying on the coast are generally different from those inland, I’ll treat it as a non-issue, something which can be explained by a competent local notary public. Continue reading Rent, Buy or Build in Oaxaca

You Have the House—What Now?

By Deborah Van Hoewyk

Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 10.12.57 AMSo, you’ve just joined the ranks of Huatulco’s expats. You rented or bought a house or a condo, and supposedly it came furnished—but not so much. You sank all your pesos into your abode, so now what do you do? It probably didn’t come with a lot of gorgeous tilework, or natural wood beams, or carved window screens, or any of the other delights that show up in the halfdozen high-end Mexican shelter books. And it definitely doesn’t “look like a million bucks” coastal-modern. Continue reading You Have the House—What Now?

Landscape Architecture in Mexico

Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 6.39.20 PMBy Julie Etra

Although this discipline was formally initiated in Mexico is only about 25 years ago, it really began in the gardens of Chapultepec hundreds of years ago by the tlatoanis, the collective name for the villages where Náhuatl, the ancient language of the Aztecs, was spoken. There are of course the famous floating gardens of Xochimilco, (founded in A.D. 919 and meaning “flower field” in Náhuatl), which today are the remnants of amazing and sophisticated agricultural complex in lake Texcoco, where the City of Mexico was originally founded. Continue reading Landscape Architecture in Mexico

“Beyond Roses”

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 3.26.39 PMBy Julie Etra

Zantedeschia aethiopica, Calla Lily. The famous lily seen is so many of Diego Rivera’s paintings is actually native to southern and east Africa and is not a true lily at all but a member of the Araceae family. It was named in honor of the famous Italian botanist Giovanni Zantedeschi (plants are generally named after a person, and not necessarily the botanist that first described the plant, or according to their anatomy and description). The white ‘petal’ is a bract, or modified leaf, and the flower is actually the fleshy part that resides inside the bract and is called a spadix.  Although Victoria’s Dictionary of Flowers says is symbolizes ‘modesty’, in Australia it has been classified as a toxic weed and pest. All parts of the plant are poisonous due to the presence of calcium oxalate. It likes about 60% humidity and therefore grows well in the Sierra Sur.  It is important to plant the bulb at the correct depth so it has enough moisture and can root, and if planted too deeply can be subject to bacterial infections.  It is too hot along the Oaxacan coast for this plant but it is obviously cultivated in the Sierra and is readily available as a cut flower from many of the florists and street vendors in La Crucecita when brought down from the mountains. Continue reading “Beyond Roses”