Botanical Garden is the most famous tourist destination in Ooty. In 1847, Marquis of Tweedale laid the foundation of this garden, which is spread at an area of 22 hectares. This garden is located at a height of 2400 metres above the sea level and has a collection of rare coloured lilies, flowering trees and shrubs.
There are many rare species of trees, one of which is 20 million year old fossil tree. It has earned the sobriquet monkey’s puzzle tree because monkeys cannot climb this tree. Furthermore, there is an Italian style garden which has a huge variety of flowers, bushes and plants. The garden, which also has a clear pool and a fern house, is popular among students specialising in botany.
The Horticulture Department of the Government of Tamil Nadu looks after the maintenance of this garden. This garden features variegated range of roses and imported shrubs. Todas or the tribes of Nilgiri, which is known for its unique culture and traditional values, inhabit the eastern hill of this garden.
Botanical Garden is famous for its ‘Summer Festivals’, which is held every year in the month of May. In the third weekend of May, a flower show and exhibition on plants is organised in this garden.
The present Botanical Gardens are divided into 6 sections namely Lower Garden, New Garden, Italian Garden, Conservatory, Fountain Terrace and Nurseries
The Flower Show
The first Flower Show was organised in the year 1896 by the Chairman of Nilgiris Agri-Horticultural Society, Mr.J.H.Tremenhere, the then Collector of Nilgiris. The Government has taken over the flower show from the Nilgiris Agri-horticultural society in 1980 by forming a committee called the Nilgiris Flower and Fruit Show Committee. The flower show attracts about 150,000 tourists each year from all over the world.
The flower show is held for two days. The inauguration of the show is held on the first day and on the second day, prizes are distributed to winners of various competitions held in connection with flower show. About 250 exhibitors participate in different categories on the day of flower show. Several government departments and voluntary agencies also display their activities for the benefits of the flower lovers and tourists.
More than 50 varieties of potted plants, 150 varieties of cut flowers, various kinds of tropical and temperate vegetables and tropical and temperate fruits are exhibited by the competitors. The Floral decorations, Indian and Japanese flower arrangements, Vegetable carving, Flower Rangoli, Bonsai etc., are the major attractions during the show days. The exclusive cut flower stalls from large private and public gardens are also an attraction during the show days. 59 rolling cups, 250 cups and cash prizes are awarded to the best competitors and exhibitors.