Government Botanical Garden, Udhagamandalam
Among the gardens, Govt. Botanical Garden, Udhagai is one of the world’s famous public gardens and attracts visitors from all over India and abroad. Established in 1847 by the Marquies Tweedale the Governor of Madras started the Horticulture Society to develop Botanical Garden, Udhagai. The Garden layout was done in the year 1848 by Mr.J.W. Mc. Ivor & completed in 1867.
The Garden covers an area of 22 ha. with an elevation of 2400-2500 meters. above Mean Sea Level. The garden enjoys a warm temperate climate, with an average rainfall of 1300 cms. The Maximum and minimum temperatures are 28◦ C and 0◦ C respectively.
Every year about 20 lakhs tourists including Foreigners visit the garden. Besides this Botany and Foreign students from India & abroad visit the garden for updating their knowledge. The Historical Building was constructed as a plant conservatory in the beginning. At present this beautiful pair of a building is popularly known as HERITAGE BUILDING. Earlier the building served as a sales counter for ornamental plants & seeds. In 1912 this building had been renovated to present in an aesthetic look during the Centenary flower show festival in 1995.
The Garden is divided into different sections such as Lower Garden, Fern House, New Garden, Italian Garden, Japan Garden, Conservatory, Top Garden, Sunken Garden and Nurseries.
The Lower Garden comprises the entrance & the Lower Lawns, the main attraction of the Govt. Botanical Garden is the enchanting lush green lawn it looks like a green carpet spread over an area of about 7 ac. for the visitors to enjoy themselves. Pop up sprinklers have been put up in places to up keep the greenery and to avoid frost damage during winter season. This lawn has been laid out in an undulating manner having a gentle slope so that the whole lawn is visible from the entrance.
Neither planting of trees nor any modification of the lawn has been allowed for decades in order to up keep the excellent greenery. The lawn has many old exotic trees like Jacaranda, Dracaena, Magnolia, Araucaria, Deodar, etc.,
The Fossil Tree trunck displayed in the New Garden is 20 million years old. The centenary Flower Festival pillar was installed to commemorate the famous and historic flower festival held in the month of May every year. The map of Indian Union made up to selected plants attracts the tourists in lower garden section.
The Fern house, and Gigantic glass house area the mega flower arrangements are made in this lawn during flower show days which gives very rich look.
The Japan garden is located on the left hand side of the main gate. The garden consists of a stream and water pool surrounded by moisture loving plants and attractive wooden bridges.
The Fern House with vast ranges of Ferns is some of the highlights of the garden it was constructed in 19th century for preserving ferns. More than 127 kinds of Ferns are maintained here. The fern house is in the name of Mr. Mc. Ivor.
The huge glass house situated near the Fern house is main tourist attraction with various flowering plants like Balsam, Cineraria, Phlox, Petunia, Dianthus etc., are arranged as a big trophy. The area between the front garden and the crescent shaped pond at the band stand has been developed recently and named new garden. The Salient features of the garden are Flower beds, State government emblem and Natural ponds with aquatic plants, the tree species such as Taxodium mucronatum, Pieris ovalifolia, Juniperum viriginiana, Eucalyptus eugenodies, Pinus wallichii, Photinia lindleyana, Pinus canariensis, Arucaria cunninghami adorns this section.
The Informal landscape of the garden from the entrance which merges into the formal beds laid out is in an Italian Pattern, surrounding the centrally situated Octagonal band stand. This part of the garden presents always in gorgeous look with several varieties of colorful annuals. In the Fare ground is a crescent shape lily pond for growing several varieties of aquatic plants species. A Beautiful stone Elephant Structure, canons and water cascade add beauty to this Band Stand.
The conservatory was constructed in 1912 and now maintained with Cacti and succulents.
The bog garden lies towards the east of the conservatory. A rock and alphine garden is also situated near the conservatory. A sunken garden a picnic ground with flowerbeds and summer house are situated in the top garden. Some of the rare species Syncarpia laurifolia, Melaleuca stypheloides, Mappia foetida, Camellia, Alshophilla are seen in this section.
A new artificial water cascade was developed recently above the sunken garden which was surrounded with flowering annuals to attract the visiting tourists.
The nursery are consists of eight glass houses and a series of terraces for multiplication of rare plants. The glass house are used for multiplying begonias, balsam, coleus, primulas, roses, cineraria, fern, cacti, succulents, and bulbous plants to be grouped periodically in the conservatories and glass houses and for sales.
Systematic introduction and maintenance of plants in the garden has resulted in the collection of about 2000 species representing 117 natural orders. These species are of immense value to the botanists and students of botany.