Klaus was fondly known to many of us in San Gerardo as “Santa Klaus”. His short rotund figure, always cheerful and full of life, was well known far and wide. He wore a large brimmed hat against the sun, a bright T-shirt stretched over a paunchy middle, and always his gum boots – as he was always coming or going to his beloved garden.
People who knew Klaus better than I can fill in the story of how he went from Germany to Canada and the USA, and later built his beloved log house and started his garden at the junction of roads to San Gerardo and Herradura de Rivas, not far from Mt Chirripó. The garden was bursting with tropical flowers and vegetation, with pools brimming with carp and tilapia, and attracted birds and animals to the fruit trees and secret places. Klaus’ love or orchids could be seen in all the fantastic specimens he collected and showed around the property. Not all of them were indigenous but they all responded to the tropical climate and Klaus’ green thumbs to their very best.
The place is called the “Secret Gardens” or “Los Jardines Secretos” and is open year round for visitors who want to walk the trails casually or those who would like a guided tour from Don Bernan Blanco – Klaus’ protégé and manager of the property. Klaus spent part of the year in New York and the rest in Costa Rica so he good enjoy two of his favourite places, his friends and of course his gardens in both. Because up until last year Klaus still worked as a landscape designer and gardener in New York!
I hope others will fill in the gaps about Klaus the photographer, designer and historian. He had many interests and amongst the hundreds of books, photo albums, artworks and more that filled his home his story came alive. Klaus passed away on Wednesday April 27 after struggling with respiratory illnesses for some time. Both Shirley Jimenez and Bernan Blanco looked after him through these hard times as they have also done for many years.
We have had the unique pleasure of knowing Klaus for the past 35 years. We have never met a more colorful person anywhere. The stories of his life beginning with his youth in Germany during World War II, through his travels and experiences, have been so interesting.
We really appreciate Klaus love of nature and things artistic. Always content with a simple life, here’s one story as an example. Some years ago we hosted Klaus at our Lake Wallenpaupack condo in Pennsylvania. After picking up some groceries at the local store, Klaus spotted a potato in the parking lot. He insisted that we take it to include in one of our meals.
We will miss Klaus and our get togethers with mutual friends Luann and John. You have enriched our lives, Klaus.
Please feel very welcome to leave your comments about Klaus. He would love to hear from his old friends.
The following comments were copied from a posting on Facebook
Licho Garita Romero: Paz a sus restos quedara en nuestros recuerdos sus buenas obras y su buen humor …
Robin Picard: I so loved his gardens and landscapes. He made a beautiful world for many!
Lesmes Marin: q descanse en pas mi gran amigo
Maria Quesada: Que goce dé la paz y gloria eterna
Heidi Kaldenbach Montemayor: ️ Lovely gardens!
Jeanne Blank Brodin: RIP Klaus. You will be missed!
Linda Anderson: I am sooo very sad to hear this, as Klaus was one incredible, and beautiful person through and through. He always took the time to show off his beautiful garden in person if he was there. I idolized him with respect to his verve and dedication to fulfill his dream of creating one beautiful habitat to share with others. He will be sorely missed by all:(