The botanical Gardens of
Bangalore and are generally acknowledged among the oldest and even today are among the best preserved, protected and nurtured greens. Calcutta
However, much before the botanical gardens in
Bangalore-the Lalbagh-were taken over by the British in 1799 after the death of Tipu, there was another big botanical garden in and it was located at Nungambakkam. Madras
This garden was established in 1778 and almost a few years after the Lalbagh in
. This garden had come up much before Dr. Francis Buchanan took up his seminal survey on the flora and fauna of Bangalore South India in 1799-1800.
The botanical gardens at Nungabakkam were set up by Dr. James Anderson, Physician General of the Presidency of Madras. Initially, the botanical garden took off on a fairly large patch of land around his house in Nungambakkam in 1778.
By 1792, the botanical garden had expanded to 110 acres and they came to be known as
’s Gardens. He planted another botanical garden and this was called Nopalry in Marmelon, now Mambalam-Saidapet. Anderson
James Anderson (1739-1809) was a qualified surgeon with a medical degree from
Edinburgh and he came to Madras in 1761 from . He was appointed an assistant surgeon with the East India Company in Fort St. George in 1765. He was promoted as a full surgeon in 1786 and then Physician-General. Scotland
The East India company allotted
a two acre site for the nopalry. This piece of land was levelled and it had an embankment, with a milk hedge (Euphorbia aphylla) and mirgosa (margosa; neem, Azadirachta indica, Meliaceae).Anderson appointed his nephew, Andrew Berry, also a surgeon, as Superintendent of the nopalry. The cactus grown, Nopal de Castile, had such fine and minute spines that they could be seen only with a magnifying glass. Anderson
By 1796, Anderson began giving more attention to his botanical gardens adjoining his home and in 1793, the East India Company decided to devote a part of the nopalry to the Government Botanical Gardens and to experiment with growing rubber trees.
However, both the gardens suffered when a cyclone ravaged
on December 9, 1807. Madras
Only some of the plants in both the gardens survived the cyclone and among them were sago palm (Saguerus rumphii, Arecaceae) and the nopal (prickly pear). However, by 1809, the nopalry was almost in ruins. It was then that the British decided to transfer the several plants from the nopalry to the Lal Bagh in
The British then formally declared the nopalry as a failure and the land which it occupied in Saidapet was sold.
survived till 1828 and Anderson himself had started introducing sericulture in the gardens from 1790. he was inspired by the manner in which Tipu had gone about introducing silk in his Anderson Gardens . Mysore Kingdom