J.R. O'Neal Botanic Gardens at Tortola, BVI
One of the quiet gems of Tortola is the J.R. O'Neal Botanic
Gardens in Road Town. This small park is part of the Tortola National Park
system, and it's a popular place for weddings or just going for a quiet stroll
away from the city and all the action. A small US$3 admission fee gets you in,
though further contributions are gratefully accepted. All fees go toward costs
of ground maintenance.
The entrance to the botanic garden is down the Walk of
Royal Palms, a stately and quiet path that ends at a graceful fountain marking
crossways. From here you can visit the many different sections of the gardens.
In one direction, you'll find an extensive collection of orchids. In another, a
turtle pond fringed with a variety of water lilies provides the children with a
Especially for those who can't manage the wilder parts of
the island for some reason, the J.R. O'Neal Botanic Garden features a miniature
rain forest, where you can experience the humid hot beauty of the tropics.
Sit here next to the miniature waterfall and absorb the beauty before
moving on to the rest of the botanic garden. Or bring your lunch in for a serene
The flowers and other plants on display at the J.R. O'Neal
Botanic Gardens are brought in from all over Tortola and the rest of the British
Virgin Islands, so you'll get a very good cross section of the region's
diversity, from cactus in the Cacti Gardens to mountain orchid, ginger,
heliconia, and dozens of fragrant and colorful tropical flowers. There's even a
banyan tree and 62 different varieties of palm.
In one section of the botanic gardens, you'll find a wide
yard large enough to set up a celebration or fair; this is a very common spot
for weddings. The entire botanic garden is ideal for photographs and meetings,
and many people come here just to eat lunch in the cool ambiance of the greenery
and water gardens.
You will also find a nursery that includes seedlings and
plants representing the bulk of the species on display here. If you fall in love
with some of the plants, you can probably locate and purchase a healthy one to
take back, and the gardeners here will provide you with advice on how to get it
to thrive in your climate.
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