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Monday, 6th December  2021 2:08:am

Medicine in Bloom Both in the kitchen and out, leaves, flowers and plants play important roles in local life. The Cook Islands’ history of traditional medicine continues in modern-day society and now extends to more generic health products rather than just medical applications. The Secret Garden is a great place to gain insight into the importance and value, both cultural and economic, of plants in Cook Island culture. The Secret Garden is the work of Swiss Bill Tschan, a decades-long resident of Aitutaki who has cultivated a huge assortment of botanical specimens. Stringent regulation of the importation of plants obliged Mr. Tschan to grow every single plant and tree in The Secret Garden from seeds. An authority on the use of botanical remedies to combat illnesses, Mr. Tschan is a walking encyclopaedia of knowledge. He suggests, for example, placing a few Soursop leaves under the pillow as a cure for insomnia.

Futher Reading

news05Bill Tschan hosts tours of his tropical garden on Aitutaki. When archaeologists set about the fiddly business of tracking the great waves of Polynesian migration across the Pacific, fruit and vegies proved handy. When crops grown in one part of the Pacific would pop up in another area a few decades later, the paths rowed by the great twin-hulled canoes could be mapped out.
Centuries from now, archaeologists won't know what to make of Bill Tschan's secret garden. They probably wouldn't know what to make of Bill, either - the retired Swiss accountant gathers fruit and seeds from around the world and will have a go at growing seemingly anything in his Aitutaki garden. Handily, he also hosts tours for visitors to the island.

Aitutaki Lagoon