A famous botanist once declared that Sri Lanka is simply one big botanical garden, nurtured by Nature itself. Yet when the British colonials arrived in Sri Lanka in the 19th century, they were determined to establish more gardens within this garden – man-made botanical gardens cloned from the mother Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in England.
In 1821 on the site of a pleasure garden first created in about 1371 for the King of Kandy. The British established the gracious Royal Botanic Gardens of Peradeniya. Another garden was set up in the hill country, established in 1861 at Hakgala south of Nuwara Eliya. And in 1876, yet another garden was established, this time in the lowlands at Henarathgoda, the Gampaha Botanic Gardens, designated for the trial planting of the country’s first Rubber trees. Other private gardens such as the famous Lunuganga and “Brief”, designed by world-renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa and his brother landscape artist Bevis Bawa, bring to life the paradisiacal charm that is refreshingly Sri Lanka’s.
Sri Lanka’s botanical gardens are a showcase of the country’s botanical treasures and are botanical gems deserving the same admiration and wonder as the country’s famed sapphires and emeralds.