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Thorny bushes and cactus trees are some of the things that our minds conjure up when we think about the dry zone. However some of us may be pleasantly surprised to discover that our notions are wrong when we visit the Mirijjawila Botanical Gardens in the Hambantota District. The gardens are located along the A3 Colombo – Wellawaya main road. The Mirrijawila Gardens are one of the island’s botanical gardens. The other gardens in the Peradeniya Gardens , the Henarathgoda Gardens and Hakgala Gardens.

The Gardens at Mirrijawala consists of 300 acres and is situated on land that was long thought to be mostly infertile land. Construction work on the Gardens commenced in 2006 and was unveiled in 2013 to commemorate Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting held in the island.

The Mirrijawila Gardens never fails to amaze first-time visitors of the lush greenery and vegetation in these dry and unforgiving climes. Eco-tourism has seen a boom to the area with education on plants and vegetation in the dry zone. The Gardens also provide education on plant conservation, medicinal herbs, flower growing and botanical education.

With the area only receiving an average annual rainfall of 650mm and it is indeed a marvel that the area has such lush vegetation with giant kohomba trees along its beautiful rivers.  

The Gardens is managed by the Department of National Botanic Gardens and charges Rs 60 for entry. Children under 12 and people over sixty are only charged Rs 10. The Department also operates a battery-functioned car within the Gardens and charges a nominal Rs 500 per hour.

We highly recommend that you walk along the park and enjoy its flower exhibitions, ornamental shrubs,
and Floriculture section. The notions of the harsh and dry Hambantota district will fade away during your time there. You will undoubtedly enjoy your time there.  

From my car window, I watched Spain transform. From Madrid in the country’s centre to the coastal north, empty land and grazing cows turned to misty green mountains and a shimmering harbour full of boats. I had driven north before, but this was the first time I’d stopped in Getaria, a medieval fishing village with beaches, vineyards and the 15th-Century baptismal church of native son Juan Sebastian Elcano, the first person to sail around the world. 

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