Nestled below the verdant Morne Bruce hill, and located about 50 meters from the Roseau River, is the 40-acre Botanic Gardens of Dominica. This area of undulating land is the largest tract of semi-open space in the city of Roseau. With an elevation of about 66 ft (20 meters) above sea level, the Botanic Gardens receives approximately 85 inches (218 cm) of rainfall annually, with favorable conditions for the growing of a wide variety of tropical plants.
The “Gardens,” as it is popularly known, is situated on land formally cultivated in sugarcane. The idea of establishing the Roseau Botanic Gardens was conceived in 1889 by the British Crown Government. The Gardens was established in two distinct sections: an ornamental section and an economic section. The latter was devoted to research and the propagation of plants of economic importance.
The Botanic Gardens has survived several tropical storms and hurricanes. In spite of these setbacks, the Gardens still provide the only open space in the city for the citizens and visitors to enjoy. It continues to be the idyllic setting for cricket matches, national parades and cultural celebrations, religious open air ceremonies and recreational activities. And its beauty and serenity still mark it as one of the gems of the Caribbean.
The gardens include the bois kwaib, Dominica’s national tree and flower, and many other tropical trees and palms. Noted specimens include the cannonball tree, banyan, century palm, and ylang ylang.Â The two endemic lizard species, theÂ Dominican ground lizardÂ and theÂ Dominican anole, are common on the grounds of the Botanical Gardens. It is also frequently visited by a variety of wild birds, including three species of hummingbirds,Â carib grackles, and theÂ green heron.