Visit to Tourin House and Lismore Castle

Many thanks to Sara Whelan who was part of the IGPS Munster outing to Tourin House and Lismore Castle on Saturday, 20th May, for forwarding these photographs from the day.

This first group is of Lismore Castle:

 

And this second group is from Tourin House:

Annual General Meeting, Birr, 2017

Reports are coming in on the A.G.M. weekend in Birr with some members posting images on Facebook with their comments.

It would seem there was some rain but that this did not dampen spirits and that it was a very enjoyable weekend. Certainly some of the private comments on the garden were simply gushing in their delight.

Victor and Roz Henry and Jenny Constable have sent photographs for me to use – many thanks to them for taking the time to do so – and I hope they give you a flavour of the weekend.

You can view slideshows from Victor, Roz and Jenny on the IGPS Blog

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Heritage Irish Plants Launch: Opening Remarks by Martyn Rix

On November 22 2016 the Irish Society of Botanical Artists and the Irish Garden Plant Society had the great honour of welcoming Martyn Rix to the National Botanic Gardens. Martyn had generously accepted the invitation to come to launch Heritage Irish Plants – Plandaí Oidhreachta. As the time for speeches approached, the crowd of attentive gardeners, artists and guests crammed into the gallery that held stacks of books and catalogues along with the 62 paintings used to illustrate the latest book to celebrate Irish plants and horticulture. As the large attendance inhibited our ability to take in all that Martyn had to say I asked if he would, in the modern sense, put pen to paper for us. And he did.

Martyn began with by remembering that some of his most enjoyable and formative years were spent at Trinity College Dublin and when reading the introduction to the book he remarked that …

I was interested in the story that Charles Nelson tells about the Provost Mahaffy, a great classicist and fancier and collector of snowdrops. On a visit to Athens in 1884, Mahaffy collected an Autumn-flowering snowdrop which Frederick Burbidge, the director of the Trinity College botanic garden in Ballsbridge, named Galanthus rachelae, after Mahaffy’s elder daughter. It was growing on Mount Hymettus, east of Athens, then covered in spiny Euphorbia acanthothamnos (spiny cushion). Even in classical times, Hymettus was famous for its honey, and the spurge is a great source of honey in early spring.

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Euphorbia acanthothamnos, Peter A. Mansfeld via Wikimedia Commons

A few years later, Mahaffy visited Mount Athos, famous for its monasteries, and collected another snowdrop, which was named after his younger daughter, Elsa.  This was a dwarf, early-flowering Galanthus reginae-olgae.  Both were planted at Glasnevin but by 1948, even Lady Phylis Moore–Irish gardener and wife of the Director of the botanic gardens at Glasnevin, Dublin–could find no trace of either. 

It was then that we see the logic in the Irish Society of Botanical Artists and the Irish Garden Plant Society desire to have Martyn Rix launch the new book. Martyn Rix is the current Editor of Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, the longest running botanical periodical. Through this work and his many other publications he has built an incredible knowledge of the art of plant portraiture. Martyn continued…

Rachel’s snowdrop is, however, preserved as a painting by E.A. Bowles (an early snowdrop enthusiast) in the Royal Horticultural Society’s Lindley Library, and this would be a guide to anyone who might rediscover the original clone surviving in an Irish garden.

Curtis’s Botanical Magazine has been a source of paintings of wild plants in cultivation, since its inception by William Curtis in London in 1789.  Initially most of the flowers illustrated were grown in the Chelsea Physic Garden, or in Curtis’s own botanic garden in South Kensington,  but from an early date, Ireland provided some of the models. Charles Nelson has identified one of the earliest, dating from 1810. This was Leptospermum lanigerum, from the east coast of Australia, grown in the Dublin Society’s garden at Glasnevin, which had been founded in 1795.

In the 1830s William Hooker, then in Glasgow, took over the editorship of the magazine, and again obtained plants from Glasnevin, notably those collected by John Tweedie in the Argentine between 1836 and 1854. Twelve of Tweedie’s introductions are illustrated in the magazine; Tweedie is remembered by Tweedia coerulea, an Asclepiad with flowers of a unique shade of pale greenish blue. It is more correctly known today as Oxypetalum coeruleum.

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Oxypetalum caeruleum By Kurt Stüber via Wikimedia Commons

Tweedie also introduced the wonderfully scented Sinningia tubiflora.

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Sinningia tubiflora illustration by Swallowtail Garden Seeds from Santa Rosa, California via Wikimedia Commons

A less familiar Illustrator’s name is then introduced to us by Martyn…

One Dublin-born artist has, until now, received little recognition. He is A.F. Lyndon (1836-1917),  who travelled widely in Bermuda and New Brunswick in particular,  before settling in Driffield in Yorkshire, to work for the engraver and publisher Benjamin Fawsett.  Lyndon drew the illustrations for Lowe’s Our Native Ferns, and Beautiful-leaved Plants, as well as the Revd. William Houghton’s British Freshwater Fishes.

It is then that the setting of the National Botanic Gardens for the launch and as a ‘home’ for both Societies is broadened…

While the Hookers, father and son, were directors of Kew for the last 70 years of the 19th century, the reign of the Moores at Glasnevin lasted 84 years, from 1838 until 1922. The elder Moore is remembered in Crinum moorei, introduced from Natal, and illustrated in Curtis’s magazine in 1863.  Large clumps of the original plants still thrive at Glasnevin.

The last of the Moores was Lady Phylis Moore, much younger than her husband, who died in 1949, and who was still spoken of in hallowed terms by gardeners in Ireland in the 1960s, though, sadly, I never met her.

W.E. Trevithick (1899-1958) contributed around 60 plates to Curtis’s Botanical Magazine. He was born when his father was head gardener to Lord Headfort in his great garden near Kells. The white, scented Rhododendron headfortianum was painted from the garden, as well as Lilium formosanum and Tsuga chinensis. His son, also William Edward, was a gardener at Headfort from the age of 13, then at Glasnevin, and finally at Kew, where he worked in the herbarium.

It is not only the mention of orchids, a particular favourite plant family of mine but also the move to more recent history that made me even more attentive to Martyn’s words…

Orchids were a particular favourite of the younger Sir Frederick Moore, and I remember the wonderful display in the glasshouses at Glasnevin in the 1960s, when I came to Dublin to read botany at Trinity under David Webb. Another speciality were the hanging baskets of Dampiera, formerly Clianthus formosus, with silver leaves and striking red and black flowers.

In these years Lord Talbot de Malahide was building up his collection at Malahide Castle, and was a friendly host for lunch on Sunday, followed by a tour of the garden and tea upstairs in the drawing room, presided over by his sister Rose. Many of his plants came from the Malahide estate in Tasmania, and were the models for paintings by Margaret Stones, the great Australian flower painter, in the Endemic Flora of Tasmania. He also grew plants from other areas, and I collected seeds for him in Turkey and Iran, with Gillie Walsh-Kemmis and Michael Walsh in 1968 and, with Audrey Napper from Loughcrew, in 1969.

Wendy Walsh and her family were also great hosts, as well as being very artistic.  It was when Michael was working in Kiribati, in the South Pacific, in 1970, that Wendy visited him and began painting flowers again.  As well as her paintings for Irish postage stamps, she painted several plants for Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, including Iris lazica, which Michael had collected in Turkey, and Deutzia purpurascens ‘Alpine Magician’, collected by Reginald Farrer in Burma in 1919, and preserved at Glasnevin.

Wendy’s main work was published in a series of beautiful books in co-operation with Charles Nelson, on Irish plants, both native and cultivated. These will be her most lasting legacy.

And to round it all off…

It is great to see this theme being carried on in the present exhibition by young botanical artists at work today.  Deborah Lambkin is now a regular contributor to Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, specialising in exotic orchids, and Susan Sex has recently painted native species for the Magazine.  Lynn Stringer is also a regular contributor, painting new introductions grown by Séamus O’Brien at the National Botanic Garden at Kilmacurragh, Co. Wicklow.

It was a great honour to be at the podium alongside Martyn Rix. We, the Irish Garden Plant Society and the Irish Society of Botanical Artists, owe him a great debt of gratitude in his acceptance to launch the book and open the exhibition but also for his generosity while visiting. As often happens, events will go by and in the excitement of it all some details will be forgotten. I am happy to say that this will not happen to Martyn Rix’s words of the day.

Brendan Sayers

Mount Congreve – A National Treasure

IGPS Munster hosted Paddy Tobin with his talk on Mount Congreve Gardens at their new venue at Northridge House, St. Luke’s Home, in Blackrock. There was a very good attendance and the talk will certainly entice people to make the journey to Waterford to visit these excellent gardens. Mount Congreve Gardens are hosting the Rare Plant Fair on Sunday, 14th May, which might be a good opportunity to visit.

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The venue is proving to  be very convenient with excellent parking and facilities for a chat and refreshments afterwards.

Keep an eye out for our next event which will be an outing to Lismore Castle and Tourin House on the 20th of May – details will be posted in the Events section here on the website and also on Facebook.

The Story of Blarney Castle

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Adam Whitbourn at the Old Courthouse in Antrim.                                           Photo from Barbara Kelso

About 80 members and friends thoroughly enjoyed Adam Whitbourn, Head Gardener at Blarney Castle, telling the story of the Castle’s gardens at the Old Courthouse in Antrim on Thursday 23 March. Who could fail to enjoy features such as the Witch’s Kitchen, the Wishing Steps and the Poison Garden? We admired the tree collection from the 600 year old yews to the more modern introductions, envied the double herbaceous borders spanned by a pergola swathed in roses created from scratch in a mere three years, and applauded his vision in creating an Irish Trail featuring a collection of Irish cultivars – the aims of the IGPS brought to life.

Report from Maeve Bell

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Enjoying Adam’s talk!                                                                                        Photo from Barbara Kelso

Things That Turn Nick Macer On!

Nick Macer speaking to the IGPS group in Cork. Photograph from Bruno Nicolai

Nick Macer speaking to the IGPS group in Cork. Photograph from Bruno Nicolai

There was a large turn out of IGPS members and guests for Nick Macer’s talk on the 24th of January in Cork. Nick has travelled extensively in search of new and interesting plants and has introduced many of these through his Pan Global Plants Nursery. He presented his plants in groups “Small”, “Big”, “Bigger” and “Bark” rather than in a geographical arrangement matching his expeditions, a generally more common approach, which added to the amusing – as with the title – approach he took to his subject.

Those plants which turn Nick on were, by and large, his own discoveries and introductions and as many are not as yet widely available were generally unfamiliar to the audience. A talk which is educational as well as entertaining is always enjoyed and appreciated.

The talk was in Northridge House, St. Luke’s Home, Blackrock, the new venue for Munster winter talks. It is an excellent location with ample parking and ease of access and should encourage more people to attend.

The ever popular raffle at such events was especially popular last evening as there was a beautiful selection hellebores on offer and the winners went home delighted with their good fortune.

The next talk at Nortridge House will be presented by Billy Alexander of Kells Bay Garden in Co. Kerry on the 7th February. Do come along and join us!

Nick Macer visiting Blarney Castle Gardens with Adam Whitbourn, Head Gardener at Blarney, Martin Edwardes, Margaret McAuliffe, Chairperson  IGPS Munster, and Janet Edwardes.

Nick Macer visiting Blarney Castle Gardens with Adam Whitbourn, Head Gardener at Blarney, Martin Edwardes, Margaret McAuliffe, Chairperson IGPS Munster, and Janet Edwardes.     Photo supplied by Margaret McAuliffe. 

Paddy Tobin

 

Colin Crosbie – “Shady Characters”

Mike Snowden with Colin Crosbie

Mike Snowden with Colin Crosbie

Thanks to the kind invitation of the Alpine Garden Society, Northern members had the opportunity to enjoy a lecture by Colin Crosbie on ‘Shady Characters’ on the afternoon of Saturday 21st January. It was entertaining and informative, full of useful recommendations for good ‘doers’ in shade, whether dappled or deep which, as he pointed out, is essentially what most of us on the island of Ireland enjoy most of the time. His plants ranged from bulbs and herbaceous plants through to shrubs and trees; some of the main genera included Arisaema, Epimedium, and Roscoea while ferns, lilies and hellebores were also well represented.

Mac Dunlop, the Vice Chairman of the Ulster Group of the Alpine Garden Society, talking to Victor Henry

Mac Dunlop, the Vice Chairman of the Ulster Group of the Alpine Garden Society, talking to Victor Henry

Viv Kirk and Barbara Kelso

Viv Kirk and Barbara Kelso

The Bay Garden – A talk by Frances McDonald

A report from Maeve Bell on a very enjoyable evening in Belfast!

The Bay Garden photo

There was a packed room at Malone House Belfast on Wednesday 7th December to hear Frances MacDonald, so much so that there had to be a short delay while extra chairs were fetched and installed. Frances delighted the audience with her account of the development of The Bay Garden, the garden in Camolin, Co. Wexford which she and her husband Iain have created over the past 25+ years.

The Bay Garden

 

The Bay Garden has something for everyone: strong design elements, well-chosen planting and colour combinations, some exotics, and plants which are guaranteed ‘good doers’ in the Irish climate. Put all this together with Frances’s dry wit and willingness to share some of the put-downs she has endured on the lecture circuit over the years resulted in furious note-taking being interspersed with laughter, so much so that apparently one gentleman complained to her afterwards that he had been looking forward to a  snooze but kept being woken up by the noise of people enjoying themselves!

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Plandaí Oidhreachta – Irish Heritage Plants Launch, 12 November 2016

Martin Rix, editor of Curtis’ Botanical Magazine, officiated at the opening of the Plandaí Oidhreachta – Irish Heritage Plants exhibition of works by the members of the Irish Society of Botanical Artists and the launch of the associated book at the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, on Saturday, 12th November. There was an exceptionally good attendance with members of the ISBA and IGPS enjoying the occasion very much.

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The exhibition by members of the ISBA. Photograph from Bernard Van Giessen

The exhibition hall was open from eleven which allowed plenty of time for leisurely viewing, time to meet and chat with the artists and to browse the book and exhibition catalogue. The official opening was at midday when Brendan Sayers introduced Jane Stark, Chairperson  ISBA, Billy McCone, Chairperson IGPS, and Martin Rix who was very complimentary of the whole project and especially so of the work of the artists.

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Martin Rix launches the book: Plandai Oidhreachta – Irish Heritage Plants. Photograph from Bernard Van Giessen

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Brendan Sayers, Lynn Stringer, Jane Stark and Martin Rix. Photograph from Bernard Van Giessen

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Paddy Tobin, Stephen Butler, Jane Stark and Martin Rix. Photograph from Bernard Van Giessen

 

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IGPS group at the launch: Billy McCone, Chairperson, Yvonne Penpraze, Ricky Shannon, Stephen Butler, Maeve Bell and Paddy Tobin. Photograph from Bernard Van Giessen

The exhibition continues until the 4th of December and the book will be on sale at the reduced price of 25Euro – the price will be 30Euro.

There are two follow-up events: Saturday,  19th has a talk on Irish Heritage Plants with some of the plant breeders attending and Saturday, 26th will have demonstrations by members of the ISBA. Both events are open to the public and are free of charge.

All photographs in this report are courtesy of Bernard van Giessen

Irish Heritage Plants – Plandaí Oidhreachta

Hot off the presses – an advance copy of “Irish Heritage Plants/Plandaí Oidhreachta” the result of a project between the Irish Garden Plant Society and the Irish Society of Botanical Artists. The project has been generously and enthusiastically supported by the National Botanic Gardens (The Office of Public Works), An Bord Bia and by the County Wexford Garden and Flower Club.

The opening of the exhibition of botanical art and the launch of the book will be on Saturday, 12th November at the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin – by invitation only to all IGPS and ISBA members. The exhibition will continue to early December and the book will be on sale during that time.

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There will be further events at the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, on the 19th of November where contributors to the book will make a presentation and on the 26th when the artists will give demonstrations of their work. These latter events are open to the public and we would be delighted to see you there.

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The book is not yet on sale but may be ordered online  from The Irish Society of Botanical Artists and will be available at the National Botanic Gardens from Sunday, 13th November, onwards.

I have been involved in this project and am absolutely delighted with the final product and am sure you will be also. Here are some sample pages from the book – simply photographed at home, I’m afraid, but enough to give you a peep into the beauty of the illustrations, all done by members of the Irish Society of Botanical Artists.

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Nick Macer in Northern Ireland

Recently 70 IGPS members and friends were wowed with ideas for new plants for their gardens by Nick Macer of Pan-Global Plants when he spoke at Antrim Old Courthouse. Even better, almost all the plants he talked about were relatively hard and capable of surviving our winters outdoors.

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Nick Macer with Neal Porteous and Victor Henry at Mount Stewart Gardens.

Nick Macer with Victor Henry looking at some of the wonderful plants at Mount Stewart recently

Nick Macer with Victor Henry looking at some of the wonderful plants at Mount Stewart recently

Nick was himself wowed by a visit to Mount Stewart where he was shown round by Neil Porteous, the Head of Gardens there; Victor Henry and Maeve Bell were lucky enough to accompany them. We saw fabulous autumn colour combinations in the Italian Garden, the autumn hues of the Sunk Garden, rare and unusual specimens including the tall, multi-headed Cordyline indivisa, and the new collections of ferns and Rhododendron maddenii.

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Text and photographs from Maeve Bell. 

Nick Macer – “Confessions of a Plant Freak”

Nick Macer’s recently delivered his talk “Confessions of a Plant Freak” to IGPS members in Northern Ireland.

Beforehand he visited the garden of our members David and Janet Ledsham where he admired some of the birches which David had grown from seed and Eucryphia moorei which was in full bloom.

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In the afternoon we went to The Botanic Gardens in Belfast where he met some of the staff of Belfast Parks together with members of the Friends of Belfast Botanic Gardens who are also IGPS members and heard about the project to restore the Victorian Tropical Ravine. While the building housing the Ravine is being refurbished, Parks staff are taking the opportunity to propagate the rare Killarney Fern.

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Text and photographs from Maeve Bell.

 

Lafcadio Hearn Gardens, Tramore

IGPS  Munster organised a late season outing to the Lafcadio Hearn Garden in Tramore, Co. Waterford on Saturday, 15th October. There was a good attendance, reasonable weather, an excellent guided tour and a day that was enjoyed by all who attended.

Many thanks to Margaret McAuliffe who took on the role of  photographer for the day. If you would like to view a full album you can do so on the IGPS Facebook page and if you would like to read of the background story of this garden you can do so on the IGPS Blog.

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Plant Sale – IGPS Leinster at Trinity Botanic Gardens, Dartry

The most popular event of the year is the annual plant sale organised by IGPS Leinster which has been held for the past few years at the Trinity College Botanic Gardens in Dartry.

It is an opportunity to purchase plants which are quite rare and generally not available in the trade as well as special plants propagated by society members and kindly donated to the sale. Several nurseries are also very generous with their contributions.

Stephen Butler, Chairperson IGPS Leinster, would like to extend a special “Thank You” to the nurseries that donated plants: Kilmurry Nursery, Sedum and Sage Nursery, Mt. Venus Nursery, Ravensberg Nursery, Tullys Nursery, and Flannery’s Nursery and the numerous donations from members, a wonderful mix of plants again, very many not seen for sale generally.

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Plant Sale, Saturday 15th

Plant Sale on Saturday next – see Fixtures for full details – look to the right column here.

Come along early and you could get one of these Irish heritage plants. They are in very small supply so it is a case of first come, first served. Good plant hunting!

 

Anemone nemerosa 'Robinsoniana', one of the Irish heritage plants available at the Plant Sale next Saturday

Anemone nemerosa ‘Robinsoniana’, one of the Irish heritage plants available at the Plant Sale next Saturday

Agapanthus ‘Kilmurry Blue’

Agapanthus ‘Kilmurry White’,

Bergenia ‘Ballawley’, Ballawley Park, Dundrum, 1940

Crocosmia ‘Irish Dawn’

Crocosmia ‘Kilmurry Orange’

Crocosmia masoniorum ‘Rowallane Orange’, from Rowallane, 1998

Crocosmia masoniorum ‘Rowallane Yellow’, from Rowallane, 1970

Dierama ‘Kilmurry Seedling’

Eryngium x zabelii ‘Donard Variety’, Slieve Donard Nursery 1950

Iris chrysosgraphes ‘Kilmurry Black’, no info own selection

Osteospermum ‘Lady Leitrim’, Mulroy House, 1970

Rodgersia pinnata ‘Irish Bronze’, Ballawley Park, Dundrum

Rudbeckia ‘Dublin’

Tradescantia ‘Kilmurry Purple’

Verbena hastata ‘Kilmurry’,
3 x Berberis darwinii Nana, Daisy Hill intro before 1910
3 x Rosmarinus officinalis Prostrata, Daisy Hill pre 1906
3 x Parthenocissus henryana

3 x Azara microphylla ‘Variegata’, from Gumbletons house in Cork, pre 1910
3 x Berberis x stenophylla ‘Corallina Compacta’, Daisy Hill 1905
3 x Garrya x issaquanensis. ‘Glasnevin Wine’, Celbridge, 1985
3 x Dasiphora (Potentilla) fruticosa ‘Longacre’, Newcasatle, Down, pre 1950
2 x Emmenopterys henryi

5 x Omphalodes ‘Starry Eyes’, Rathfarnham, 1981
5 x Crocosmia ‘Rowallane Yellow’, 1970, at Rowallane
5 x Anemone nemerosa ‘Robinsoniana’, possibly Irish, maybe not!!
5 x Geranium himalayense ‘Irish Blue’, Leixlip, 1947
10 x Geranium psilostemon ‘Mt Venus’, no info, new from there

3 x Hebe ‘Headfortii’, from Headfort, seeds from NZ though
3 x Griselinia ‘Bantry Bay’, McKenzie, Illnacullin, 1950, branch sport
3 x Escallonia ‘Glasnevin Hybrid’, NBG 1910
4 x Berberis x carminea ‘Buccaneer’, Watsons Nursery Killiney, pre 1940
3 x Philadelphus ‘Rose Syringa’, pre 1890
1 x Dianthus ‘Chomley Farran’, Braemor Park, Dublin 1975
4 x Cryptomeria japonica ‘Kilmacurragh’, pre 1922 there
3 x Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Kilmacurragh’, pre 1933 there
2 x Cotoneaster bradyi, intro to NBG 1995 named for Director, raised from seed from China in Sweden
2 x Berberis x carminea Barbarossa’, Watsons Nursery Killiney, pre 1940
3 x Sambucus nigra f, porphyrophylla ‘Guincho Purple’, pre 1970, from Scotland intro by Mackie at Guincho

The Planters’ Seminar at Mount Stewart

About 30 IGPS members formed part of the audience for the Planter’s Seminar at Mount Stewart Garden, Co Down over the weekend at which Dan Hinkley, Roy Lancaster and Bleddyn and Sue Wynn-Jones talked about the special plants they have seen while exploring remote areas. As part of the seminar Neil Porteous, the Head Gardener, led a tour of the formal gardens which were resplendent with late summer colour, exciting plant combinations and a superb collection of salvias.

Text and photographs from Maeve Bell, Chairperson IGPS North. 

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Neil Porteous, Head Gardener at Mount Stewart, leading a group in the gardens

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Plant Sale at Rowallane

Photographs from the Irish Garden Plant Society Plant Sale at Rowallane Gardens, Saintfield, Northern Ireland today. It was a wet day but the society members turned out in force and had a good day. rowallane-plant-fair-2016-5 rowallane-plant-fair-2016-1 rowallane-plant-fair-2016-2 rowallane-plant-fair-2016-3 rowallane-plant-fair-2016-4

Heritage Irish Plants – Plandaí Oidhreachta: NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE!

Would you like to purchase our upcoming book: “Heritage Irish Plants – Plandaí Oidhreachta?

 

Here’s the link:                 PURCHASE ONLINE!

 

Gloxinia sylvatica 'Glasnevin Jubilee' by Heather Byers

Gloxinia sylvatica ‘Glasnevin Jubilee’ by Heather Byers

Glenarm Castle Gardens, August 2016

The Northern group of the IGPS organised a visit to Glenarm Castle Gardens in Co. Antrim and had almost 50 members and friends in attendance on what proved to be a most enjoyable tour of a really stunning garden. This is an historic site dating to about 1820 with strong design elements, fabulous herbaceous colour combinations, and immaculate maintenance – led by Reg Maxwell, the garden adviser.

The photographs and captions from Barbara Kelso and Maeve Bell tell the story!

Hot border. Herbaceous border filled with bright reds, pinks, oranges and yellows throughout the season; from tulips and peonies in early summer to bright dahlias and penstemons later in the season. Barbara Kelso

Hot border. Herbaceous border filled with bright reds, pinks, oranges and yellows throughout the season; from tulips and peonies in early summer to bright dahlias and penstemons later in the season. Barbara Kelso

West facing border, the pleached lime trees have all been recently hand pruned.  Barbara Kelso

West facing border, the pleached lime trees have all been recently hand pruned. Barbara Kelso

Large white flower heads of Hydrangea 'Annabelle'.  Barbara Kelso

Large white flower heads of Hydrangea ‘Annabelle’. Barbara Kelso

Double herbaceous 'cool' borders. Beyond is the Yew Circle, which surrounds the herb garden.  This circular hedge is one of the oldest features of the garden, dating back to the 1820's.  Barbara Kelso

Double herbaceous ‘cool’ borders. Beyond is the Yew Circle, which surrounds the herb garden. This circular hedge is one of the oldest features of the garden, dating back to the 1820’s. Barbara Kelso

View of one side of the garden from the mount. It also provides a panoramic view of the countryside around - 'borrowed landscape'. Barbara Kelso

View of one side of the garden from the mount. It also provides a panoramic view of the countryside around – ‘borrowed landscape’. Barbara Kelso

Apple orchard and wildflower meadow. The Obelisk was created by a local craftsman out of oak. Barbara Kelso

Apple orchard and wildflower meadow. The Obelisk was created by a local craftsman out of oak. Barbara Kelso

Crab apple trees beautifully under planted with hardy and half hardy annuals. Barbara Kelso

Crab apple trees beautifully under planted with hardy and half hardy annuals. Barbara Kelso

Stipa gigantea and verbena bonariensis are lovely together. Barbara Kelso

Stipa gigantea and verbena bonariensis are lovely together. Barbara Kelso

Pear trees trained on the circular metal railing. Barbara Kelso

Pear trees trained on the circular metal railing. Barbara Kelso

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A colourful patch of annuals planted in a square at the base of a fruit tree; they have been designed to succeed the tulips which occupy the space earlier in the year and are at their peak during Glenarm’s annual Tulip Festival over the May Day weekend. Maeve Bell

Members enjoying the day. Maeve Bell

Members enjoying the day. Maeve Bell

Helen’s Bay Walled Garden – A Venture in Vegetables 

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From left to right – Carol Dobson – Northern Committee (and new volunteer), Barbara Kelso –Northern Committee, David Anderson-volunteer, Lorraine Small-owner, Patrick Leonard Head chef Merchant Hotel, David Cameron –head gardener and Andy Bingham – head gardener Ulster Folk Museum

IGPS member and plants woman Lorraine Small has taken on a challenge in restoring a 4 acre walled garden in Helen’s Bay, County Down. Barely one year into the project the garden is already supplying some of Belfast’s top restaurants and selling at local markets.   Her Head gardener David Cameron brings a wealth of experience having spent two years working at Raymond Blanc’s Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons garden in Oxford.

Left to right  Volunteer David Anderson, Owner and IGPS member Lorraine Small, Gardener David Cameron

Left to right Volunteer David Anderson, Owner and IGPS member Lorraine Small, Gardener David Cameron

Members of the Northern sub-committee were treated to a visit to the garden in July where they sampled some of the organic vegetables including yellow beetroot and heritage black podded peas.

Lorraine says “ We are fully organic but I want to go one step further and include Irish Heritage fruit and vegetables. We already have a collection of Irish apple trees and some Irish Heritage vegetables but we are always looking out for more.”

Owners Lorraine and James Small with Northern sub-committee members

Owners Lorraine and James Small with Northern sub-committee members

Ulster Folk Museum Head Gardener Andy Bingham , Lorraine Small, owner of the walled garden at Helen's Bay and Maeve Bell, Chairperson of IGPS North.

Ulster Folk Museum Head Gardener Andy Bingham , Lorraine Small, owner of the walled garden at Helen’s Bay and Maeve Bell, Chairperson of IGPS North.

Although a lot of work remains to be done after years of neglect, Lorraine hopes to open the walled garden and the adjoining house garden for an IGPS garden visit next year.

Pear tree

A surviving pear tree from bygone days

Tasting some of the Josh Toombs peas

Tasting some of the Josh Toombs peas

 

IGPS chairperson Billy McCone writes “ This is a great opportunity to explore an area of Irish Heritage plants that has largely been overlooked. I particularly welcome the interest from the Folk Museum who have already done much to help develop the Lismacloskey Rectory garden. I believe there is tremendous potential in this project and I wish Lorraine every success.”

 

Photographs and text from Billy McCone, IGPS Chairperson