Pyin Oo Lwin, or Maymyo as it once was called, is a cool and inviting hill station and a great escape from dusty Mandalay's oppressive heat. After a climb of 3,600 feet, you reach groves of shady pines, oak and eucalyptus trees flourishing alongside coffee plantations, orchards, and open farmland burgeoning with vegetables and flowers. Pyin Oo Lwin is known as the City of Flowers.
The Botanical Garden was founded by Alex Rogers, a Forestry Researcher in 1915 and developed two years later after the style of London's Kew Gardens with the aid of Lady Cufffe.
It was originally much smaller only 150 acres in area but in 1924, was renamed the National Kandawgyi Gardens and increased in size to 240 acres.
The National Kandawgyi Gardens are the jewel in the crown of Pyin Oo Lwin. 589 species of native and non native trees are planted in 95 separate areas, with 42 acres of protected forest area surrounding it.
There is also an orchard of numerous varieties of fruit, 75 species of crotons growing in their own special enclave, a bamboo forest of 75 species along, a medicinal garden, an orchid house and even a rose garden - a nod to its British influences.
Unusual to find in a botanical garden is an aviary full of exotic birds and a butterfly museum with specimens collected from Myanmar and all over the world including South America and Japan. Sad though it is to see the butterflies frozen in flight encased in glass, it is an amazing record of a lost world and also rather wonderful that plants are displayed with their pollinators.
What benefit is it to the world, if we save every seed there is yet not one butterfly?
Tree Nymph Butterfly by Ashok Sengupta
All other photographs by River of Flowers