The Black Sea coastline from the heights of the Batumi Botanical Gardens stretches more miles to the north towards the port of Poti, and south towards the port of Batumi. Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, and of course Georgian soldiers have used these heights to scour the horizons for incoming ships for centuries, as evidenced by the nearby Roman-Greek fortresses of St. Peter at Tsikhisjiri and Apsaros at Gonio.
Nowadays, the Batumi Botanical Gardens inhabit the hilltop folds. Founded in the 1880s by Nikolayevich Krasnov, the history of the Gardens are very interesting. The trees and plants imported from around the world over the last century grow incredibly well, some better than their native environments!
On a recent walk through the gardens, a local pointed at a particular tree and said, "do you see that?" We wondered what she was pointing out, and asked her to explain. "Half way up that palm tree, there's a pine tree growing!" We looked closer and one by one, we finally saw it: a single pine branch, not less than 15 feet long, was growing out of some of the shag bark of the old palm tree. A bird must have brought the seed, we marveled, or maybe some crazy botanist grafted it there, speculated another.
Further down the trail, we found a large tree fallen across a small ravine. It was such a large trunk, 20 people could walk across the ravine as if across a bridge, all at the same time. Even more amazing, a dozen smaller trees were growing straight up out of the fallen trunk, offering a series of hand holds for those venturing out on the trunk.