The Arboretum (entrances on Middle Road or via the carpark on Montpelier Road, open sunrise to sunset daily, admission free), a 19-acre expanse of meadows, palms, and fiddlewood forests, is one of Bermuda’s best parks, though quite underused. Unlike Botanical Gardens, it consists not of ornate planted beds but wild tracts of wooded hillsides, large soft lawns, and stands of interesting plants and trees, including cedars, flowering golden acacias, avocados, and acres of mature Surinam cherry forest.
The reserve—owned by the government since the Army pulled out of Montpelier and Fort Hill in 1951—is an important bird sanctuary, and flocks of trilling cardinals and rare bluebirds can be seen feeding and nesting in meadows off Middle Road. A giant olive tree at the roadside spreads its dark foliage over the sidewalk, and gargantuan rubber trees with endless root systems and hanging tendrils bear testimony to the centuries-old age of the Arboretum.
Also off Middle Road, an ornamental bridge crafted with rustic cedar planks and railings leads into the park, and two quarry gardens inside, one with tiny pools, are planted with interesting ferns and other shade-loving flora. Running clubs use the park for afternoon workouts, and joggers, birders, families, and dog-walkers come for the tranquil trails, grassy spaces, and birdsong.
© Rosemary Jones from Moon Bermuda, 2nd Edition