Brief Garden – Bentota
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Located ten kilometers inland from Bentota, Brief Garden is the legendary garden and country home of Bevis Bawa and was the garden which inspired his brother, renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa to create Lunuganga. The garden, which has been open to the public since 1970, resembles a magical place from a fantasy novel and presents a wonderful space in which to lose yourself for a few hours. With over 106 different kinds of trees recorded on this 20 acre property and hundreds of other fauna still being counted today, the garden is a must-see for those with a keen interest in landscape design.
EXPERIENCE DESCRIPTION: Take an independent walk by yourself or with your guide through the garden. Ask one of the staff for a map. All paths lead back to the main house, so you won’t get lost. There are plenty of seats tucked away in the many nooks and crannies of the garden, which was designed to allow guests private moments. Sprawled over 20 acres, you’ll see a garden which has not changed once in the past 85 years. Designed by Bevis Bawa in the late 60’s, the Garden was once his family owned rubber plantation and is now under the care of Bevis’ staff, whom he considered family. The ‘araliya’ tree, or Frangipani tree at the entrance near the main house is the first tree Bevis planted on the property, and it’s said that Bevis fashioned the house and garden around it. Once you’re done with the walk around the garden, come up to the main house for some tea ad biscuits with Dooland De Silva. Doolan has worked at Brief Garden for the past 40 years and was very close to Bevis; he’ll take you on a small tour of the house, which used to be the home of Bevis, and which has an eclectic range of artwork on display – from homoerotic sculptures to a wonderful mural of Sri Lankan life in the style of Marc Chagall.
ABOUT BEVIS BAWA: Bevis Bawa (26 April 1909 – 18 September 1992) was a Sri Lankan artist. He was also one of the most renowned landscape architects in Sri Lanka and the Aide-de-camp to four Governors of Ceylon. The eldest son of Justice Benjamin William Bawa, a wealthy and successful lawyer, of Muslim and English parentage, and Bertha Marianne nee Schrader who was of mixed German, Scottish and Sinhalese descent, Bevis’s younger brother was Geoffrey Bawa (1919-2003), regarded as one of the most important and influential Asian architects of the twentieth century.
Includes: A host, entrance tickets, a visit through the gardens, cold towels, tea and a vehicle.
Duration: Approx. 1.5 hours
Suitable for children: Children above the ages of 5 are welcomed at the Gardens, however small children may not follow the explanations, and the experience is designed for those with a keen interest in Bewis Bawa, tropical gardens and landscaping.
What to wear or bring along: Cool, light clothing. We’d recommend wearing a pair of trainers as some sections of the lawn tend to be muddy. You might also like to bring an umbrella along in case it rains or to protect yourself from the sun.
Important to know: Children need to be accompanied at all times by an adult and are restricted from touching or playing with any of the antique sculptures in the house and around the gardens.
Private or not? This experience is always private.