Established in 1816 on 150 acres is a loop of the Mahaweli Ganga 6 KM from kandy on what was once a royal park and residence in the reign of king kirthi sri rajasinghe (1741-80),the peradeniya Gardens at an elevation of 75M contains healthy specimens of all known plants in Sri Lanka and of much of the tropical flora from around the world besides. stroll or motor though the ever-changing vistas-perpetually pretty pink and yellow ‘queen of flowering Trees; the avenue of Royal Palms and a profusion of the coconut’s cousins, magical glades and groves of myth and marvel; riverside reeds, rushes and thickets of giant Bamboo towering 40 M trees heavy with flying fox suspended like fruit; a wealth of healing herbs; a spice garden; lily-topped lakes and ponds; a lane of lianas; a rockery of ornamentals; cacti; orchids; a froth of ferns; the Octagon House or Conservatory and much more. The Mahaweli, Sri Lanka’s longest river surrounding this gardens gives an added beauty to this Garden.
The best attraction of the garden is the orchid House, which houses over 300 varieties of exquisite orchids. A spice garden gives you a firsthand introduction to the trees and plants used for the traditional Ayurvedic medicine.
Rising to an elevation of 1700 M, just 10 KM away from Nuwara Eliya town (to the south),the Hakgala Gardens was established in 1860 by the eminent British botanist Dr.G.H.K Thwaites who was superintendent of the of the more famous gardens at Peradeniya. first as a cinchona plantation from which the anti-malarial drug quinine is derived, and then adapted to an experimental garden for the acclimatization of plants from temperate zones in the tropics. Here can be found all the flowers of an English cottage garden in spring and summer, and much else besides-such as the older a sheer 460M and offers one of the most stunning views ever. Legend says it was part of the Himalayas carried here by the monkey-god Hanuman in his quest to help Rama rescue Sita from the demon king Ravana. Sita Eliya, site of sita’s imprisonment, stands a mere mile away, with the Sita Amman kovil close by.
30 Km from Colombo and 5 Km off Gampaha, this often overlooked garden is celebrated for its tropical trees rather than for flowering plants. It was here that in 1876 ,2000 seedlings of the para Rubber tree(Hevea brasiliensis)from seeds smuggled out of the Brazilian Amazon by Sir Henry Wickham and nurtured at London’s kew Gardens-gave rise to the entire rubber industry in Southeast Asia. It is said that some of the original rubber trees are still there, and it is worth visiting the gardens
Dry Zone Botanical Gardens – Mirijjawila
Seethwaka Wet Zone Botanical Gardens – Avissawella
The last Botanical Garden established in 1876 by the British was Henarathgoda Gardens in Gampaha and there are two Botanical Gardens being established in Avissavella and Hambantota. The main objective of establishing the new botanic gardens are to conserve dry and arid zone plans. The gardens will also provide opportunities for ecotourism and economic development in these areas and to model dry zone landscape improvements. these objectives will be achieved when the garden opens officially to the public.
According to the government policy, southern sri lanka has been earmarked as a development zone for tourism, and a Botanic Garden presents an attractive location both for domestic and foreign tourists.
Mirijjawila Garden is the first National Botanical Garden to be built after the senarathgoda Garden in gampaha in 1876.It is also significant as the first ever dry zone botanical garden in sri lanka. the government launched this project in 2006.