Castleton Botanical Gardens
Known for its array of plants, Castleton Gardens is a haven for many birds and offers a delightful appeal for anyone who wishes to hide away for a while from the hustle and bustle of a hectic life. Castleton was once famous for its majestic display of over 180 species of palms and a number of other plants which were introduced particularly from the famous Kew Gardens in England.
Castleton Botanical Gardens is situated on 10 hectares of property, nestled in the ‘banana’ parish of St. Mary. It was a former sugar plantation owned by an Englishman, Colonel Castle. The establishment of this garden in 1862 was as a result of frequent flooding of Bath by the sulphur river. There was a need for a suitable place to house plants from Bath; therefore, many species of plants from Bath were transferred to Castleton.
Castleton quickly became the most richly stocked garden in the Caribbean. At present there is about 25 species of palms remaining. The enchanting, serene environment of the garden and its exotic trees help to make Castleton an ideal area for nature lovers. Many species of interesting trees such as: Strychnos, from whose bark the medicine strychnine is obtained; African velvet apple; Rose apple; Mangosteen; and West Indian mahogany adds to the relaxing mood that can only be created by nature. Indeed, few tropical gardens have such a lovely situation, nestled in a mountain valley and bordered on one side by the Wag Water River that facilitates swimming.
The garden is well maintained and is an attractive picnic area for both local and foreign visitors.