Some 20 kilometers north of Kingston lies the small village of Castleton, known for its most famous attribute, the Castleton Botanical Gardens. The gardens at Castleton were established in 1862 to facilitate the relocation of the Bath Botanical Gardens, making it one of the oldest public botanical gardens in the western hemisphere. In just a few years after the move, the gardens at Castleton were the most richly stocked in the Caribbean, boasting over 180 species of palm and at least 400 specimens of other flora. The garden occupies approximately 10 hectares of land in the cool, verdant hills of St Mary. It is divided by the main road to Junction with another end adjacent to a rocky riverbed where women from the village can sometimes be seen washing clothes in the small seasonal stream. Many of the trees and plants introduced to Jamaica were first planted here, most notably the Bombay mango, navel orange and tangerine. Other important exotic trees, palms and shrubs in the garden today include: Cestrum Nocturnum (Night Blooming Jasmine), Spathodea Campanulata (Nandi Flame), Litchi Chinensis (Chinese Guinep) and Sanchezia Nobilis (Hummingbird Fountain). The 15-acre gardens are open to the public, and Castleton is a popular picnic spot for Kingstonians eager for a break from the city. The Wag Water River flows through Castleton parallel to the botanical gardens, adding to the serenity and pristine beauty of the area.
Source: LeAntonios Vacation