Bath Botanical Gardens
Bath Botanical Gardens - St. Thomas Parish
The Bath Botanical Gardens were established in 1779 through a Statute of the Jamaican House of Assembly. The gardens were established to give visitors to the Bath Mineral Spa a tranquil environment to relax in. These are the second oldest botanical gardens in the Western Hemisphere, being established 14 years after the botanical gardens on the island of St Vincent.
Many foreign plants were planted in the Bath Botanical Gardens when they were first introduced in Jamaica, including ackee, breadfruit and otaheite apples. It is believed that Jamaica's first breadfruit trees were brought to Bath by Captain Bligh in 1793 and that several exotic species were introduced in 1782 following the capture of a French vessel by Admiral Rodney.
In addition to the cultivation of food crops and decorative plants medical plants were also grown in Bath Botanical Gardens. The first superintendent of the gardens was Dr Thomas Clarke, a physician of the Bath Hospital.
Over time the gardens suffered extensive damage through the flooding of the sulphuric waters from the river. The official gardens were moved to Castleton in St Mary Parish in 1860. The site of the Bath Botanical Gardens are still maintained for their historical value but are much smaller than they once were.© 2010 Jamaica Travel and Culture .com