Horticultural glass

The two bottles were used for the storage of bunches of grapes.  The jar on the left is French and is known as a ‘Thomery Jar’ and the one of the right is a British bottle of slightly later date.

In Thomery (a commune in the Ile-de-France region) the jars were used commercially for the long storage of the locally produced grapes. The British jars were not used commercially but were used in the productive gardens of the owners of large estates.

The process was the same in both cases. A bunch of grapes was cut with a large section of the vine left attached to the bunch – this formed a T shape. Special shelving units were constructed with the shelves set at an angle and with holes drilled in each shelf. The ‘jars’ were placed in the holes and filled with water and then one end of the T was inserted into the jar. By this means bunches of grapes could be kept fresh for long periods.

There were two problems with this method: the first was that special shelving units with angled shelves had to be produced – the second problem caused greater difficulty. The water in the jars had to be topped up and it was very difficult to do this without drips falling onto the bunches leading to mould and rot and the loss of the bunch.

As always the Victorians set out to improve this and the result is the third bottle shown in the photograph.  The is known as a ‘Copped Hall’ bottle and was produced by William Wood and Sons of Wood Green.  This new design solved both of the aforementioned problems. As the bottle had a flat base ordinary shelves could be used – nor more angled shelves and no more hole drilling – and as water could be added via the hole in the ‘top’ of the jar the problem of drips landing on the grapes was eliminated.
Victorian horticultural ingenuity at its best.

Seamus O’Brien, fellow of The Explorers Club

Congratulations to Seamus O’Brien, Head Gardener of the National Botanic Gardens, Kilmacurragh who has been made a fellow of The Explorers Club.

Founded in New York City in 1904, The Explorers Club promotes the scientific exploration of land, sea, air, and space by supporting research and education in the physical, natural and biological sciences.  Fellowship is reserved for those who have distinguished themselves by directly contributing to scientific knowledge in the field of geographical exploration or allied sciences. Such accomplishments usually are evidenced by scientific publications documenting fieldwork or explorations.

As a fellow, Seamus enters the top tier of The Explorers Club, alongside other Fellows and Honorary Fellows including Col. Buzz Aldrin, Sir Edmund Hillary, Edward O. Wilson,  President Theodore Roosevelt, Sylvia A. Earle, Kathryn D. Sullivan, Ph.D. and many more.

Oxford Botanic Garden by Richard Webb

Oxford Botanic Gardens celebrates its 400th anniversary this year, as the oldest botanic garden in Britain. With the likelihood increasing of hotter and drier summers, new displays have been created to show what garden plants may be suitable for these conditions in future. Selections include plants from the Mediterranean, South Africa and North America. Examples shown here include Stipa gigantea, eryngium, dianthus and echinacea. The planting was loose and dynamic and it hummed with insects. By contrast the nearby classic herbaceous border seemed static and lifeless.
There is a lot to learn from close observation of our natural habitats.
We can look at vegetation structure and how and why species grow in drifts or singly and the timing of flowering.
I have learnt so much just by looking at the ecology of our nearby Red Lodge Heath, a remnant of the Breckland sandy heath. Drifts of yarrow and wild carrot mingle with clumps of scabious and echium among a matrix of low grasses.

Airfield Estate Gardens

Ardan Garden

Ballintubbert Gardens and House

Ballycommane Garden

Ballyedmond Castle Garden

Ballymaloe Cookery School

Ballyrobert Gardens

Bantry House and Garden

Belvedere House Gardens & Park

Benvarden Garden

Birr Castle Demesne

Blarney Castle and Gardens

Burtown House and Gardens

Colclough Walled Garden

Collon House

Coolaught Walled Garden

Coolwater Garden

Dawros Gallery & Garden

Dower House

Dromana House and Gardens

Festina Lente

Fota House – Victorian Working Garden

Gash Gardens

Glenarm Castle Walled Garden

Glenavon Japanese Garden

Hester Forde Garden – ‘Coosheen Garden’

Hunting Brook Gardens

Irish National Stud and Gardens – The Japanese Gardens and St. Fiachra’s Garden

Johnstown Castle, Estate, Museum and Gardens

June Blake’s Garden

Kilfane Glen and Waterfall

Kilgar Gardens

Killruddery House and Gardens

Killyreagh Garden

Kilmokea Country Manor and Gardens

Kilravock Garden

Kylemore Abbey and Victorian Walled Garden

Lodge Park Walled Garden

Loughcrew Gardens


Mount Stewart House and Gardens

Mount Usher Gardens

Oakfield Park

Old Deanery Garden

Patthana Garden

Rothe House Museum and Garden

Rowallane Garden

Salthill Garden

Seaforde Gardens

Seanabea Cottage


Strokestown Park Gardens

Tourin House & Gardens

Tullynally Castle Gardens

Tyrrelstown House Garden

Woodville Walled Garden

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