Arboretum is described as the Trees and shrubs preserved for study and display.
“Ask for sam popham arboretum”. Most people in Dambulla will shrug their shoulders as this destination is known as “suddage watta”, when you travel through you will meet the man make jungle just 3 KM’ s from the town on the Kandalama road.
This arboretum is established in 1963, by a British tea planter Mr. Popum with 9-1/2 acres and the wood land 27 acre property acquired and added into the property 1989 by institute of fundamental studies. The whole property was handed over to IFS by a deed of gift. Mr Popham has converted this abounded chena cultivated land to a beautiful forest. This arboretum is home for more than 225 plants species. (7 endemic plants) The arboretum is also home to wide range of animals, birds & reptiles. A small herd of spotted dear and mouse dear has made it home here. A large number of birds such as endemic jungle fowl, gronze wings pigeon, and grey horn bill, also can be seen. This is the only arboretum to be found in the dry zone which converted by Mr. Popum using his own method called popum method. Popum method does not entertain the cultivation of a new plant. It only permits the clearance of obstacles in the plant family.
|From Pophahm garden|
Who is Mr. Popum.
F.H Popul (Sam) was born in 1923 and educated at Eden, Majdalene and Cambridge. He first came to Sri Lanka then Ceylon as part of the Royal Navy during the 02nd world war, he then worked as a teacher in England and in Egypt and later came back to Sri Lanka in 1962 as a tea planter, he has no formal cultural qualifications but has been motivated by and abiding interest in of tree lovers. In 1992 he has devoted the first lanka conservation award, in recognition of his work in Dambulla. In 1995 he has nominated for the prestigious United Nations (SASAKAWA environmental prize) by the Ministry of Environment. The nomination has been accompanished by several letter of recommendations. In 1999 mr. Popum retired went up to his home land. Before he handed over this land to the present manager Mr. J. Amarasinghe to protect and look after the property till the new management takes over.
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