If your wish is to find a respite away from the noise of day-to-day life Hope Botanical Gardens might just be one of the many answers. In 1881, two hundred (200) acres of Hope Estate was purchased by the Government to establish an experimental garden. Over the years, Hope Gardens have become a place for pleasure, recreation, sightseeing and picnicking. Hope Gardens is the largest botanical garden in the Caribbean. You can find it up on Old Hope Road in the parish of St. Andrew, not far from the town of Papine. If you need a quiet place to relax and probably spend some inexpensive family time, this is your destination. Using the garden is totally cost free which makes it flexible in just about any budget. The garden is opened from Monday to Sunday from 5:30 am and closes at 6pm from October to February and 6:30pm from March to September. The garden offers simple pleasures such as a cactus garden, orchid house, ornamental pond, a “Palm Avenue” of sago palms, greenhouses, a forest garden, bougainvillea walk, zoo, fountains, bandstand, poet’s corner, lily pond and a plant nursery.
The garden is famous for hosting many rare species of tropical plants and trees. One of these plants includes the Hibiscus elatus (blue mahoe), the national tree of Jamaica. Don’t forget to check out The Amphitheater, where the Honourable ”Miss Lou” Louise Bennett-Coverly used to hold Saturday morning tapings of her famous TV show, Ring Ding. The garden is also an ideal place for hosting events such as Weddings because the atmosphere and view of the garden is just breath taking.
University students are regular visitors of the this chill spot, as it is also an ideal place for them to study or even take a break from school. Whether you want to just sit back and take in nature, escape the noise of the world or celebrate your most memorable moments, Hope Gardens is definitely the spot.