Garden Visit

To come upon the Lunuganga garden all at once, as if it were the completed vision of an artist, is to miss the improvised and serendipitous nature of its formation. Though covered in rubber trees and dense jungle growth when he first set eyes upon the site, Geoffrey discerned promise in the play of light and shade, and in the hints of future vistas that danced between wind-parted leaves. He never had a master plan for the garden, but responded to the way the land moved him over the decades: broaching a view, lowering a hill, draining a marsh, training a tree, or introducing into a nature a line of geometry as a measure of human presence. Time, too, was a factor; at different moments in his life he was occupied with different spaces of the garden while letting others languish in a benign neglect.

In the heart of Sri Lanka’s most tropical region, Lunuganga is less a garden of immaculate cultivation than a barely tamed fecundity threatening to topple over into wilderness. The site is only about 500m long and 300m at its widest, but in its composition as a series of discrete but unified spaces, it creates the impression of an enchanted garden that can be explored for days. There is no place where the garden can be apprehended as a whole. Rather, it can be experienced fully only through movement. Different sequences through the garden offer varying rhythms, moods, and perspectives, new moments of anticipation and discovery. It is as much a work of scenography or choreography as of architecture and garden art.

Resident guests are free to wander the gardens at their pleasure.

Day-time guests can follow guided garden tours at 9:30 am, 11:30am, 2:00pm, and 3:30pm for an entrance fee of LKR 1,500. Lunch (minimum 10 pax) and tea may be arranged as part of the garden visit for an additional charge but is contingent on the availability of space.