Peradeniya Botanical Gardens

Peradeniya Orchid Gardens-1256 PERADENIYA

Peradeniya botanical gardens were reserved exclusively for Kandyan Royalty. Today they’re the largest botanic gardens in Sri Lanka, Peradeniya-Orchid-Gardens-1248covering 60 hectares and bounded on three sides by a loop of the Mahaweli Ganga. Having blue blood is no longer an entry requirement. There’s a fine collection of orchids and a stately avenue of royal palms that was planted in 1950. A major attraction is the giant Javan fig tree on the great lawn. Covering 2500 sq metres, it’s like a giant, living geodesic dome as imagined by Escher or Hundertwasser. A few lingering crows add a slightly sinister touch.

Cannonball trees and cabbage palms punctuate a couple of the elegant avenues, and the avenue of double coconut palms (coco de mer) has massive fruit up to 20kg. In the spice garden near the entrance, see nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves without a salesperson looking over your shoulder. Nearby, the snake creeper is also worth a look. Seek out the giant bamboo and Assam rubber trees, and also take a closer look at the memorial trees, an interesting grab bag of trees planted by the famous and slightly less famous. Consider the trees’ different growth rates with the historical legacy of those who planted them.

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