St. George Village Botanical Garden

The St. George Village Botanical Garden is a truly special place indeed. Not only does it feature the biggest variety of plants in the Virgin Islands (some 1,200 species, to be exact), but the garden appears on the U.S. National Registry of Historic Sites’twice. The 16-acre property has been the site of constant human activity for 2,000 years, from the Amerindians to the Danish, who operated a sugarcane plantation here.

Historical artifacts from Taino tools to Danish pottery shards are offered up by the ground almost daily. The only new building on the entire property is the visitors’ center. Stone Danish structures from the 18th and 19th centuries, including the plantation’s original sugarcane factory, overseer’s village and workers’ village are draped with vines and colorful flowers; history is interwoven with botany making for a truly peaceful, awe-inspiring setting.

The garden boasts the only fully functioning blacksmith shop in the territory, where demonstrations are held for the public and repairs are done for the property’s historic ruins, which must adhere to strict regulations.

If history isn’t your thing, come for the plants. The institution is focused on preserving plants that make St. Croix ecologically unique. To that end, they feature a century plant, which is considered extinct, and more than 60 different collections of palms. Collections are themed, from the bromeliad garden, cactus garden, and orchid collection, to the heritage gardens, featuring plants used in traditional medicine and West Indian staple foods.

If serenity is what you seek, make your way to the factory ruins. The view of the bromeliad garden under a sculpturesque tree overlooking a pond dotted with water lilies evokes supreme tranquility.

The St. George Village Botanical Garden hosts numerous events, the most popular of which is the Mango Melee, a summer celebration of the sweet, juicy fruit that falls from behemoth mango trees by the bushelful across St. Croix. Everything from traditional mango tarts to mango coffee and dessert sushi are presented for the public’s tasting pleasure, and a mango eating contest invites competitors to slurp down copious amounts of the delectable fruit.

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