The Ooty Botanical gardens are a 10 min walk from Charing  Cross and a half hour walk from the Lake.  The entrance fee is Rs 15 (Adults).  When you enter you will see a vast expanse of lawn like a golf course, going steeply uphill.  There are a variety of trees and shrubs as well as some conservatories with exotic ferns and flowering plants.  Most of the trees are introduced Australian species, and it is a pity that there are not too many indigenous shola varieties.  Look out for colourful Nilgiri birds in the trees and hedges.  The lawns are tantalisingly inviting and it is a good idea to carry a packed lunch and some newspaper to sit on as the lawns are always damp.   Snacks and refreshments are available at the gardens.  There is a small Toda [local indigenous tribe] settlement right at the top of the Botanical Gardens, with a thatched Toda temple and a Toda house.  The local Todas will answer all queries and let you visit the house, for a small fee.  There is another Toda thatched house near the entrance gate of the botanical gardens, which is an outlet for Toda embroidered shawls and silver jewellery.  When in bloom, the rose garden is spectacular as is the Annual Flower Show.   Public toilets are very clean.  Tourist season and holidays can be very crowded.