We call our place El Jardín Diostede. That translates colloquially as The Toucan Garden, and literally as The Garden God Gives Thee. Below is the story we tell to explain why we’ve chosen this name.

El Jardín DiostedeEllen, Jennifer, and David’s toucan garden – draws its name from the dominant language and culture of the toucan’s range countries; jardín is Spanish for garden, and diostede is a common criollo name given the toucan in Mexico, Central America, and much of South America.

Alexander Von Humboldt first explained the origin of the compound name diostede two centuries ago in his Personal Narrative of Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of America During the Years 1799-1804, Vol. 2:

[The toucan] makes extraordinary gestures when preparing to drink. The monks say that it makes the sign of the cross upon the water; and this popular belief has obtained for the toucan, from the creoles, the singular name of diostede. (Dios te de, God gives it thee.)

As to whether the monks believed the “it” God gives to be good, bad, or both, Humboldt is silent. That theological question is not resolved in his Narrative. Nor will it be here. Here it is suggested only that a name like diostede, ambiguous on that very point, may better inspire ideals than alternative names like piapoco (chirps little), tilingo (no morals, less intelligence), or other names for the toucan in use since the time of Humboldt.

So, we’ve chosen to call our place El Jardín Diostede because we know the name will inspire us. We hope you, too, find some inspiration in it.

David Foley • 407 721-6132 •