Tropical Gardens

Garden tours around GlenMyu Estate

Garden Tour

Garden Tour around GlenMyu Estate

At GlenMyu Estate we find that one of the highlights for our guests is to enjoy a relaxed and informal garden tour around the 5 acre estate.

We are continuously landscaping parts of the estate and we see it as a forever work in progress. It’s enjoyable experimenting with different fruits, vegetables, spices, trees and other plants to see what works in different areas around the land.

Our aim is to reinstate many endemic plants and trees in conjunction with developing a fruit forest. We want to encourage more wildlife to come and live and forage on the land.

Guests enjoying the garden at GlenMyu Estate.

The fruits, vegetables and spices that we grow on the estate are used as ingredients for the dishes Ru serves to our guests. You will see that we have planted all around the 5 acre estate so that the wildlife can eat some of the produce in a peaceful environment.

It’s amazing how quickly some of the plants grow and some of our Avocado, Jackfruit, Clove and  Mango trees have been established over a few years.

We have made pathways around the estate which makes it safe and easy to walk and enjoy the surroundings. There are part of the land which are quite steep so you can get a bit of a workout on your walk during your garden tour.
There are several places to sit, rest and enjoy the surroundings whilst listening to nature provide its’ background music.

A little bit of history to the Land.

GlenMyu Estate was originally part of the much larger Viharaghalla Tea estate and our 5 acres was abandoned many years ago. It was subsequently used as a sugar cane estate. We understand that this ceased when the government started importing cheaper sugar cane making it unviable enterprise for a previous owner of the land.

A lot has changed.

The current owner, Ru (my wife), bought the land almost 20 years ago. It was a real gamble as we could not navigate the 5 acres as it was totally overgrown. It was also raining when we viewed the property and, unprepared for rain, we only ventured in around 200 metres.
Despite not seeing much of the property, the decision was made to go ahead with the purchase, at least to get a foothold in the area.

Although we looked for other lands to buy around the country, something kept bringing us back to Beragala. We eventually fell in love with the area and the search for something better was over.

If you saw the land, overgrown with Guinea Grass (used as cow fodder) and looking like a jungle, you may well have asked “What have you done”.
However Ru felt that the climate, the availability of water and electricity was at least something positive about the land.

There were some large established trees on the land also which were regularly used by monkeys as their playground.

The Climate

What I love about GlenMyu Estate and this little piece of the Hill Country is the climate. Sri Lanka doesn’t have seasons like were experienced in Europe, however it does have 2 monsoon seasons. 

Fortunately for GlenMyu Estate, we are located in a place where we don’t experience the full wrath of either monsoon and are in the Inter-Monsoon area.

It you visit one of the many weather websites you can see that Beragala or Viharagala has an average annual temperature in of 21.3 °C (70.4 °F). The annual rainfall is 1652 mm ( 65.0 inch).

You can see the weather forecast for Beragala at Meteologix or for Viharagala at JustWeather.

Why I love it at GlenMyu Estate!

For me, most of the year is like a reasonable English Summer and I can be in shorts and a t-shirt all year round. We do have some rainier periods (Mid-April until Mid-June and Mid-September until Mid-December) which helps with the garden and the planting we do. 

Climate change however, appears to have had some affect on the normal wetter and drier periods and we can never be certain when the weather will change.

Developing the garden

My wife and I don’t have much experience of developing a garden. And, we certainly didn’t think we were capable of making something that would be of such interest to our guests.

Fortunately, along with the internet and a few books, we have some wonderful neighbours who held our hands part of the way. Some of our neighbours have been living in the area for 40 years, some are botanists and some have developed forests. We fell we are very lucky to have such an abundance of resources and knowledge locally.

The Plant Nurseries (both private and government run) have also been very helpful in providing advice.
There is also a great Ayurvedic Plant Nursery in Haldumulla who supplied many of the endemic plants we are re-introducing to the land.

Also, you will find that the older generation of Sri Lankans have a good knowledge of plants, where they grow and what benefits (including medicinal) they have.

Sometimes nature tells you what you can plant by establishing certain types of trees and plants in the land. We have learnt by trying something in one place and mother nature lets us know whether it will work or not.

Protecting the top soil and securing the slope

As we are in the hill country and there are periods where the rain can be heavy there can be small land slips. One of the most important things we have done is to secure the slopes by planting trees to ensure that the ground has a strong foothold.
One of our neighbours alerted us to creating hedgerows on the land along contour lines which helps stabilise the land.
You can read more about SALT technology on this article by International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) 

What will you see on the garden tour at GlenMyu Estate?

Well, that depends on who is taking you on our garden tour!
If I take you I always say to guests that you get the second class tour!
The reason being is that my wife has planned and planted most of the garden (with help from the staff off course!).
Therefore, my knowledge is quite a bit less and although I am learning, I’m sure that there are things that I miss.

Ru showing some guest around the garden close to the Pomelo Tree.

My wife, Ru, normally picks salad leaves and other vegetables and fruits from the garden and sometimes includes this as part of her tour. I stay well away from the vegetable garden – it’s her domain!

Here are just some of the fruits, vegetables and spices that you will see on the tour of the garden. (There are many more but Ru will let you know!).

Vegetables
Yams, Jackfruit, Avocado, Lettuce, Cucumbers, Spring Onions, Tomatoes

Spices
Cloves, Cardamon, Cinnamon, Curry Leaf, pepper, coffee, 

Fruits
Papayas, Bananas, Mandarin Oranges, Lemons, Mangos, Pomello, Passionfruit, Giant Passionfruit.

I have planted lots of trees myself since being at GlenMyu Estate . If I eat a good Avocado, Mango or Jackfruit, I normally save the seed and plant it somewhere on the land.
The plan is to eventually grow a fruit first which will be good for us, our guests and the animals that visit the property. We want to encourage more endemic species back to the property by providing an environment where they can thrive. We have already seen lots of Crane Flies (daddy long legs), Fireflies and Butterflies visit the property to eat. Occasionally we will see some deer at parts of the property that have been left for the wildlife.
In future we expect to see a large variety of frogs and birds come to GlenMyu Estate to forage.

You will see on your garden tour that lots of the trees I have planted are far away from the property. Therefore we are unlikely to be able to protect and eat the fruits from these trees and they will be a good source of food for the birds, monkeys and squirrels.

An informal garden tour - Don't expect Kew Gardens!

We offer the gardens tours to guests that stay at GlenMyu Estate and it is a relaxed and informal wander around the garden. It’s not a formal garden tour by a botanist or student of  the subject. Both Ru and I are enthusiastic and interested in what we are developing on the estate and I’m sure that this will come through on the tour.

I look at our garden tour as similar to our cooking demonstrations – relaxed and informal …. and a bit of fun.

Find out more about a stay in the Sri Lankan Hill Country

If you want to find out more about a stay at GlenMyu Estate please visit our website.

You will also find us on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook (Meta!).

You can readout reviews on Google, Booking.com, Airbnb and Tripadvisor.

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Lombard Street, San Francisco

Lombard Street, Sri Lanka?

Lombard Street, Sri Lanka

Lombard Street in San Franciso is commonly known as the “Crookedest Street in the World”. My wife and I were fortunate enough to stay several days in San Franciso after a friends wedding there. We hired a car for our trip down Route No 1 and part of the experience was for me to navigate my way down one of San Francisco’s most popular landmarks. This memory has inspired us to create our own interpretation of this and create GlenMyu’s Lombard Street in Sri Lanka.

What is Lombard Street in San Francisco?

You can see what Lombard Street, San Francisco looks like in these videos.

Why is GlenMyu Estate making its’ own version of Lombard Street in Sri Lanka?

As we live in the Sri Lankan Hill Country it is important that we secure the land by managing the erosion from the slopes at the Estate. We have planted hedgerows to protect the slopes using SALT technology. There also has been lots of rocks walls built around the 5 acre estate which also helps to reduce erosion and protect the topsoil. We have planted lots of trees around the land to provide a good footing in ground and also give some canopy cover.

The site for GlenMyu’s Lombard Street is on a slope and we thought we would do something fun and beautiful on this part of the property. 

What is the aim of GlenMyu Estate?

The aim at GlenMyu Estate is to blend a guest experience whilst developing a food forest to provide a vibrant environment for the animals and birds that visit and forage safely.

We have planted lots of fruit trees around the periphery of the land which we know will mainly feed the animals. Some of the planting at the property is to make the vista beautiful and colourful.

Our version of Lombard Street will have a mix of these functions.

GlenMyu’s Lombard Street is located on the slope which can be viewed whilst you are enjoying the Natural Spring Fed Infinity Swimming Pool. We think that it is important to provide beautiful surroundings whilst in the swimming pool.

When did you start developing GlenMyu’s Lombard Street?

We commenced clearing a planting Lombard Street in April- May 2022. As you will see, in May 2023 the creation of our Lombard Street is still a work in progress.

Although Sri Lanka does not have seasons similar to that in Europe and the Americas we do have rainy and dry seasons. There are two major monsoons in Sri Lanka: The South West Monsoon and the North East Monsoon.
As GlenMyu Estate is in the middle of the island we do not suffer the extremes of the monsoons and are in an Inter-monsoon region. In order to give the plants the best chances to establish themselves we have to work around the rainy periods of the year.
We also consider it really important to retain as much of the topsoil as much as possible so we do not clear large areas all at once. If there were to be an unusual downpour of rain then we would lose too much of the topsoil that would be washed away down the slope.

What we have down is marked the pathway which you will be able to walk up Lombard Street to reach “Whale Rock”.
We have cut back the vegetation, particularly the Guinea Grass, so that it doesn’t flower and seed again creating a jungle.
Initially we planted some hedgerows using Gliricidia sticks. These sticks have grown, stalled the erosion of the slope and provides nitrogen fixing to the soil from their leaves.
We also planted some Mulberries which at this stage are starting to provide us with some fruit.
Some Mana Grass has been planted which has replaced the Guinea Grass which we have been trying to eradicate from the estate.

The taller trees you can see are mainly Erythrina variegata which are normally planted in between tea bushes. These trees provided us with some shade which helps the lower canopy plants to establish without being burnt during the hotter periods of the year.

We will take out the Eritinia trees once the lower canopy has been established.

What’s the problem with Guinea Grass?

Guinea Grass is not endemic to Sri Lanka and was brought to the island to provide fast growing fodder for cattle. We have lots of neighbours who have cows and Guinea Grass is a large part of their diet. One cow can eat 50kg of Guinea Grass a day, according to their owners.
At GlenMyu Estate our aim is to reintroduce a lot of endemic plants to land which in turn should encourage more wildlife to visit and increase the biodiversity on the estate.
As Guinea Grass is fast growing it does not allow other plants to grow as it takes their light and the nutrients in the soil.
So, we don’t have anything in particular against Guinea Grass however, it is not part of our plan for GlenMyu Estate.

Lombard Street is starting to be established.

You can see from these pictures that the pathway at the start of the slope has been started and there is a zigzag pattern being established on the hillside.
We have also planted some Rose Apple Trees, Lemon Trees……which will provide some colour when they start to fruit.
Coleas and some other flowers have been planted in the beds around the trees which has added some variety of colours. It also provides some plants for the insects to drink from and the bees and butterflies to collect the pollen.

The pathways have been planted with Malaysian Grass which we have used widely around the estate.

It’s amazing how quickly the vegetation grows and we will have a constant fight against the weeds until the trees grow and provide some shade.

Lombard Street at May 2023

The rains started in April, normally falling in the afternoons and this is the time of the year where we will be doing some more work on Lombard Street.
We have cut down some of the longer grass on the top of the slope however we have left them lying on the ground to protect the slope if there is rain.
The yellow border on the pathway will continue up the hills which will emphasise the zigzag pattern.
As we clear we will plant some fruit bearing trees and some colourful flowers in the borders. Ru has her colour plan but I’m sure that nature will let us know what works.

A walk around GlenMyu’s Lombard Street in May 2023.

When will GlenMyu’s Lombard Street be completed?

Well, that really depends on the weather, how busy we are with guests and having enough staff to help us clear and plant the slope.

We hope that you can envisage what our version of Lombard Street will look like when it is completed. The plan is also to have some places to sit so that you can enjoy the views from this side of the property. We find that as the sun circles around the land during the day there are some good spots which are in the shade during parts of the day. Maybe this will be the new Instagram spot and will compete with Nine Arch Bridge, World’s End and Lipton’s Seat!

Updating this BlogPost about GlenMyu's Lombard Street

As we make progress we will continue to update this BlogPost with pictures and also let you know what types of plants have been added.

Visit GlenMyu Estate and experience our version of Lombard Street

We love having guests at GlenMyu Estate and them enjoying the 5 acres of land. There are only 3 bedrooms so it’s a unique experience for you to enjoy.

What is Whale Rock?

I don’t know whether, like us, sometimes you look up into the sky and talk about what figures you can see from the cloud formations. Sometimes we see the shapes of crocodiles, dogs, peoples faces and so on.

When I look at Whale Rock I see the head of a Blue Whale with its’ mouth open. 

Can you see what I see?

More about GlenMyu Estate

3 Kingsize Double Bedrooms with Spectacular Views
2 Spacious Lounges with views over the hills below the house
A Natural Spring-Fed Infinity Swimming Pool
5 Acres of land to explore

Delicious bespoke meals freshly prepared by the host
A selection of places to dine

A place to relax and be closer to nature

Within reach of the following tourist sites

Diyaluma Waterfall and Upper Diyaluma Pools
Horton Plains National Park – Mini Worlds End, Worlds End and Bakers Falls
Adisham Bungalow
Lipton Seat
Dambetenna Tea Factory
Bambarakanda Waterfall
Thangamale Bird Sanctuary
Ella Town: 9 Arch Bridge, Little Adams Peak & Ravanna Waterfall

GlenMyu Estate is listed on Booking.com and Airbnb

Lombard Street, Sri Lanka? Read More »

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