Botanical Gardens - Ooty

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The Rose Garden is a small terrace atop a hill off Etiennes Road. The season to be here is April when more than a thousand varieties are in bloom. In other seasons, the garden will seem drab and can be given a skip. Sprawling for over 22 hectares, Ooty Botanical Gardens are a hub for nature lovers. These gardens are situated on the slopes of the Doddabetta peak, with a terrace type layout to add to the charm. Established in 1847, these are the mind work of the famous architect William Graham McIvor. With over a thousand different species of flora making for a lush stretch, Ooty Botanical Gardens are much more than just a relief to city weary eyes. It has an impressive array of ferns, plants, shrubs, herbs and bonsai plants that are a major draw.

These gardens are divided into six areas, which includes the Lower Garden, New Garden, Italian Garden, Conservatory, Fountain Terrace and Nurseries. A riot of colours await you at the widely spreading flower beds that are an intrinsic part of Ooty Botanical Gardens. It also hosts an exhibition of rare plant species in May every year, another reason to visit this wonder work of nature.

Fossil Tree Trunks

Today, The Ooty Botanical Gardens houses thousands of species of indigenous and exotic trees, shrubs, ferns, bonsai and herbal plants. The focal point of this garden is the centerpiece area where a Fossilized Tree Trunk formidably stands. This ancient tree computes to being about 20 million years old, a must-see. Fossil Tree Trunks are formed when trees are carried downstream by rivers and get deposited within the inland lakes getting transformed into a woody matter by silica.

Lower Garden:

The Lower Garden of the Botanical Garden features the entrance into the lower section of the Ooty Botanical Gardens that further leads into a large verdant green lawn embedded with Kikuyu Grass, known for its flexibility. As you continue, you arrive at a fern house that homes 127 fern species situated towards the left and along the road that leads to the famous Raj Bhavan in Ooty where you are welcomed with historic gatehouses within extensive lawns. This is the section where you get to view the famous and distinct carpet-bed design of the Map of India which is made by using selective plants including the 20-millon year old fossil tree trunk that stands within a platform surrounding it.

Italian Garden:

The Italian Garden of the Botanical Garden was laid out by Italian POW [Prisoners of War] from World War 1. They were moved to Ooty during the colonial era under the control of the Military station in Ooty. This Section is dressed with several lawns that feature a variety of exotic species of flowers and plants including medicinal plants, flowerbeds, lily ponds and ferns such as ageratum, asters, balsam, begonia, cosmos, pansy, petunia, phlox and zinnia including perennial flowers like dahlia, delphinium, larkspur and salvia that exhibit a typical Italian Garden Design.

Fountain Terrace

The landscaped Lower section of the Botanical Gardens blend well with the Italian fashioned flowerbeds that surrounds the central octagonal bandstand. The ponds of lilies, also home to several aquatic plant species, dressed in a crescent shape in the foreground and an attractive variety of colourful plants, trees and flowers are the prime attractions of this Section.

New Garden:

New Garden is a new addition to the Ooty Botanical Garden that was recently developed. It captures the area between the front garden and the crescent-shaped Lily ponds at the octagonal bandstand and comprises of a 'Rose Garden' that features a variety of 300 Hybrid Tea Roses and varieties of Polyanthus and Floribunda Roses. You will notice a numerous flowerbeds that are beautifully designed to match the contour of the Nilgiris slopes and the area as well lending a stunning visual treat to all visitors. Emblems of the Tamil Nadu Government and the Indian Government are designed in Carpet-beds with the use of a selection of plants and flowers, one of the attractions of this Section and a must-see.

Conservatory:

The Conservatory was built way back in 1912 with the primarily aim to group various flowering plants. Here, you can enjoy a view of several colourful annuals and perennial plants such as the Achimenes, Balsam, Calceolaria, Chrysanthemum, Cineraria, Coleus, Cyclamen, Geranium, Gloxinia, Primula, Schizanthus, Tuberous begonia and many more. The Bog Garden or Swamp Garden situated east of this Conservatory acts as an auxiliary to provide a good venue for marshland where plants like Arum, Hedychium [a perennial plant], Hydrangea, the Weeping Willow and many such plant species are seen growing well.

Nurseries

The Nurseries stand over 300 feet above the lower garden sections of the Ooty Botanical Garden and encompasses eight glass-houses including a series of terrace layouts to introduce and breed new exotic plant species. The glass-houses feature species of Begonias, Bulbous, Cacti, Ferns and Succulents plants including Orchids that are grown as potted plants for supply purposes. These are periodically grouped in the conservatories while the terrace layouts are utilized for nurturing plants for seeds, cut flowers used in decorations and for trial purposes.

Toda Mund

The Famous Toda Mund or the Toda Hill is situated within the Ooty Botanical Garden and is used as an edutainment site to offer visitors with an insight into the lives and dwelling of the indigenous Tribes of Ooty known as the Todas.