Castleton History

The British had their magnificent Kew Gardens, but for Jamaicans, our great botanical garden dedicated to the preservation, research and the dispensation of plants in Jamaica is Castleton Gardens, one of the greatest and oldest gardens in the Western Hemisphere. Ironically, Castleton in St. Mary was not the original site for the planned botanical garden - it's claim to fame was only assured after the original site at Bath, St. Thomas, plagued with flooding and poor soil, proved unsatisfactory. After a large section of the Bath Botanical Gardens was completely destroyed in 1862 (when the Sulphur River flooded the Gardens for the fifth time, a decision was made to establish the Castleton Gardens on 15 acres of land in St. Mary. Castleton Gardens are set deep in a mountain valley, and the property is complemented by the Wag Water River which flow through the gardens. Needless to say, Castleton soon became the most richly stocked gardens in the Caribbean and one of the truly spectacular gardens of the Western Hemisphere. Plants were transferred from Bath to Castleton, and the Spathodea and the Poinciana were first introduced to Jamaica via Castleton. The Bombay mango was introduced to Castleton in 1868 and the Navel orange in 1870. By 1897 there were nearly two hundred species of palm in the garden. Trees at Castleton include the Mouse-palm from Brazil, the Asian Beetle-nut tree, the Royal Palm of Cuba, the Camphor tree from China, the Liberian coffee, the African Tulip tree, the Immortelle from India and others from places as far away as Indonesia, Australia and Sikkim.

Castleton Botanical Gardens

The Castleton Botanical Gardens were established in 1862 to facilitate the relocation of the Bath Botanical Gardens, making it one of the oldest public botanical gardens in the western hemisphere. In just a few years after the move, the gardens at Castleton were the most richly stocked in the Caribbean , boasting over 180 species of palm and at least 400 specimens of other flora. The garden occupies approximately 10 hectares of land in the cool, verdant hills of St Mary. It is divided by the main road to Junction with another end adjacent to a rocky river bed where women from the village can sometimes be seen washing clothes in the small seasonal stream. Many of the trees and plants introduced to Jamaica were first planted here, most notably the Bombay mango, navel orange and tangerine. Other important exotic trees, palms and shrubs in the garden today include: Cestrum Nocturnum (Night Jasmine), Spathodea Campanulata (Flame of the Forest ), Litchi Chinensis (Chinese Guinep) and Sanchezia Nobilis (Hummingbird Fountain). The 15-acre gardens are open to the public, and Castleton is a popular picnic spot for Kingstonians eager for a break from the city. The Wag Water River flows through Castleton parallel to the botanical gardens, adding to the serenity and pristine beauty of the area. Castleton Botanical Gardens, ideal location for a day's outing and picnics.Be sure to stop to look at the more than 25 varieties of palm trees, some of which are over 100 years old!

The Wag Water River

The Wag Water rises in the mountains of St. Andrew and flows through the parish of St. Mary pasting by many villages and town. The Junction Road follows that curvature of the river as both river and the road make their way forward Annotto Bay. The river passes villages and town like Toms River, Castleton, Friendship Gap, Devon Pen and Broad Gate on its way to the sea. The river entering the sea west of Annotto Bay.

Castleton Police Station

The history of Castleton Police Station which is located beside the Botanical Garden is as old as Castleton Garden itself. Other notable assets of this warm and welcoming community is the Wag Water River that runs side by side to the Junction Main Road in most parts. The Junction Main Road is the main throughway that connect Saint Andrew to the Saint Mary via Toms River passing through community like Castleton enroute to places like Annoto Bay and the eastern parish of Portland. The history of Castleton Police Station which is located close to the Botanical Garden.....