RHS Loder Cup

Congratulations to Seamus O’Brien, National Botanic Gardens, Kilmacurragh, on being chosen as the recipient of the prestigious RHS Loder Rhododendron Cup. This has been awarded in recognition of his work in conserving the Rhododendrons in Kilmacurragh and his willingness to share his knowledge through his books ‘In the Footsteps of’ recording his travels and those of notable Irish plant hunters

Seamus is a long-time friend of the RHSI and we were treated to a wonderful talk by him last night where he focused on the role of Botanical Art in plant recording and conservation. He is among the group of Irish luminaries who have contributed so much to our rich horticultural heritage and our awareness of it.

While the Loder Cup has been awarded to recipients in many countries, it is the first time it has come to Ireland, perhaps an extra pleasure for many!
Philip Hollwey
RHSI Chair

Melanie’s story…

Here’s a bit about my garden. We bought our house in a small housing estate in 2003. The garden was a patch of thick, wet mud, devoid of life and enclosed by wooden fence panels and grim grey breeze blocks. Not having kids at the time I set making something of it with one goal being clear, I didn’t want a boring square grass monoculture. It took a lot of time thinking about design, the weather, the light, how it would tie in to the wooded area behind our wall and how to bring some life back to it and how to make it a space we can enjoy.

It’s fair to say it has evolved over time and there is a strong element of survival of the fittest in terms of which plants have been able to cope with the conditions we have with minimum intervention.  The garden is south facing and sheltered so gets very hot, but the ground is heavy clay and with a ditch behind our back wall can get very wet. I use this to my advantage now that the garden has matured as I generally don’t need to water anything in the ground over the summer. I keep planting in containers and pots to a minimum but do plant some pollinator friendly mixes in tubs along the sunny back wall of the house as this comes alive with buzzing of butterflies and bees over the summer months. The rest of the garden is a haven for slugs and snails as I gave up trying to do battle with them a long time ago. We have a wormery for veg peelings which makes fertiliser to supplement the compost from our massive compost heap.

Being a fair skinned family we would have been barred from our lovely but very sunny garden without the shade provided by the trees and shrubs we have planted. They also provide shelter and a link for all the bird life we have that visit our garden. They in turn help to keep pests down, all the ground and tree cover provides them with plenty of worms, bugs and grubs and makes a lovely nursery for young birds. A friend once said there was nowhere for kids to play in our garden but our kids have found endless adventure climbing the trees, bug hunting and making mud pies, it may not be a traditional garden you would find in a housing estate but it works for us and hopefully gives something back to the environment. I’ve embraced a reduced cutting policy with our small front lawn and am delighted to see the proliferation of dandelion, clover and self heal through it. I’m living in hope that this approach will spread to the other people on our estate.

Melanie Schweppe

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

Caher Bridge Garden

Colclough Walled Garden

Collon House

Coolaught Walled Garden

Coolwater Garden

Dawros Gallery & Garden

Dower House

Drimbawn Garden

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’

Hillsborough Castle and Gardens

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 Congreve 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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