equable climate of the hakgala area, whose mean temperature is around 60
degrees Fahrenheit, encouraged the introduction of suitable temperate
zone plants, both ornamental and useful. These included conifers and
cedars from Australia, Bermuda and Japan, and cypresses from the
Himalayas, china and as far a field as Persia, Mexico and California.
New Caledonia gave Hakgala a special variety of pines and there are
specimens of this genus from the canary Island as well.
An English oak, introduced around 1890, commemorates the "hearts of
oak" of Britain's vaunted sea power, and there is a good-looking
specimen of the camphor tree, whose habitat is usually in regions above
If you have left your heart in an English garden, you will surely find
it again in Hakgala's Rose garden. where the sights and scents of these
glorious blooms can be experienced in their infinite variety. From there
it is a quiet stroll from the sublime to the exotic sophistication of
the orchid House. A special attraction here is the verity of montane
orchids, many of them endemic to Sri Lanka.
It would be in the worst possible taste to describe the Fernery as a
collection of "vascular cryptograms" But that is how the
dictionary describes the plant whose delicate fronds conjure up visions
of misty grottoes, lichen-covered stones and meandering streams. The
Fernery at Hakgala is a shady harbour of many quiet walks, in the shad
of the Hakgala Rock, shaped like the jawbone of an elephant, from which
the place gets its name. Sri Lanka's ferns are well represented here, as
are those of Australia and New Zealand.
Hakgala is a temperate hill-country garden where also the languid
low-country lotus and water lily floats in their serene loveliness.
Pinks and blues emerging from a flat- floating background of lush
leaves, recall the calm of yellow-robed monks, white-clad, devotees and
flickering oil lamps.
In time, the highlands bracing breezes dispel the languor of lotus land
and even cause a shiver as a temperature lowers. The Hakgala Botanical
Gardens is one of the lovely contrasts of Sri Lanka, a home to plants
and trees from around the world, making them seem to be part of the
How to get to Hakgala: The nearest railway station is at Nanu Oya, from
where there are buses or taxis on the Nuwara Eliya to Badulla road to