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A Delightful Respite – J.R. O’Neal Botanic Gardens


Unassumingly I strolled in the J.R. O’Neal Botanic Gardens and sat down on a wooden bench only to catch my breath, but from where I sat on that bench, only the melodious sound of the turtle doves and the occasional rustling of leaves could be heard. It was like I was on a secluded island but in reality, I was just a short distance from the hustle, bustle and heat of the heart of Road Town.

It was quite a relaxing experience with the burst of colorful plants that make up the undergrowth. I reluctantly pulled myself away and took a tour which I was told that thousands each year make it their priority to take.

The journey began at the pebbled walkway, lined by beautifully manicured hedges and attractive arrays of cactuses, ferns, palms and flowering plants. I strolled upon a wooden bridge which created the perfect pinnacle to view the beautiful lily pond below filled with small fishes and turtles, as well as a century-old agricultural experiment station.

The water fountain in the centre of the garden and the hedged arched walkways, lush green lawns, huge palm trees and beach at every stop creates the perfect respite and a lovely place to experience bird watching. I stood in awe and found myself fantasizing about my wedding and how this beautiful garden spanning four acres can be the perfect place for the most romantic nuptial.

Fatigue interrupted by daydream as I following the stone paths back to my, yes mine, the wooden bench where I paused to catch my breath once again and stretch my legs.

This one of a kind sanctuary got its name after Joseph Reynolds O’Neal, who was the Virgin Islands’ very first conservationist. Its iron gates are open every day from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Let the towering trees that line the borders and interior of my delightful respite with its cream coloured wall lead the way but if you look hard enough you may just see the trees signalling to you to come their way, like they do to me every single day, and I oblige.

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