The Government Gardens.
Introduction of some of the better known Trees and Plants.
The earliest gardens of any size or importance in Ootacamund were those attached to Stonehouse and Southdowns, both originally owned by Mr. J. Sullivan. The former of these was, for over six years, held on lease by Government, and a latter was the property of the State for ten years, dating from December 1829. The Garden were maintained by Government, who employed a comparatively larger staff for this purpose. They appear however to have been more of an ornamental than useful character, and the general public derived no benefit from them.
During the time the Ootacamund was under military controls, considerable cultivation of vegetables for the market was carried on by so- called settlers and others, but towards the end of this epoch, which closed in 1841, there were a great falling off, due no doubt to lack of demand arising from the abandonment of the place as a military sanitarium. The present Government Gardens had their origin in one which was established in 1845, by subscription amongst the European residents, for the purpose of supplying themselves with vegetables, at a reasonable cost. The site occupied was, so it has been ascertained, the spot immediately below the ornamental pond close to the band stand, and now forming part of the lawn, planted with exotic trees, which faces one on entering the Gardens. Captain molyneux, of the 2nd European Regiment, managed it, The subscribers paying Rs.3 a month, and receiving their vegetables free of charge. In less than a couple of years’ times, however, this arrangement was found not to work so satisfactorily as had been expected, and, early in 1847, a fund was raised, by means of donations and subscriptions, with a view to form a Horticultural Society, and start a Public Garden.