RHSI Russborough

How to summarise the year? No lock downs. Mild winter and sunny days.

The garden volunteers worked enthusiastically every Wednesday and Saturday. New gardeners joined us and we hope they will continue. There is always more work than resources so new recruits are welcome. Former volunteers have kept in touch on WhatsApp providing encouragement and support.

It poured rain for the plant sale in May but we sold a lot of plants, and encouraged visitors to come back another day. At Kaleidoscope in July volunteers sold strawberries, tried archery and tai chi, and enjoyed music and mud.
There were good crops of gooseberries, blackcurrants, and autumn raspberries with lots of jam to sell. We finally gave up on the summer raspberries and dug them up. The apple crop was harvested by Falling Fruit and donated to Food Cloud. From the glasshouse we had tomatoes, cucumber, and delicious melons.

The wooden benches, donated in memory of RHSI members, were carefully restored and well used by visitors to sit and admire the garden.

Thirteen different groups with over 200 people were shown around the garden as part of their visit to Russborough house. If you know of any organisation that would like a tour of the garden, please contact the RHSI office and we will be happy to show you around.

Plans for 2023 include a re-sown, and we hope, scutch free wildflower bed, further restoration work on the old boiler house, and redesigning the holding bed area. Plant sales are our main source of income so propagating and dividing will continue to be important.

It is your garden so do come and see it. We have had photography groups, artists, entomologists and weddings. All are welcome.
Open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 11th January and feel free to bring your gloves and secateurs.

Christmas 2022 Greetings

Dear RHSI members

I hope you have plans for an enjoyable festive season and can meet up with friends and family in person or be in contact through the wonders of technology which, thankfully, reach far beyond the crackles and pauses of the old long-distance phone call!

We’re full of plans for 2023, all of which are a result of the energy and enthusiasm of volunteers who give their time and talent to making our society such a vibrant organisation. Many thanks to you all.

A particular delight is to let you know that Paul Smyth is to be the new Head Gardener at RHSI Bellefield. You’ll have an opportunity to visit in February to see the snowdrops and appreciate Angela Jupe’s wonderful gift to the society. We look forward to meeting you there. Meanwhile, please see a message from Paul below.

Best wishes for a Happy and Peaceful Christmas.
Chair, RHSI

“I’m delighted, honoured and very excited to announce that I am taking on the role of head gardener at Bellefield House and Gardens in Co Offaly. To be known as RHSI Bellefield.

I was extremely lucky to have been mentored by Bellefield’s last owner Angela Jupe who bequeathed the house and gardens to the RHSI to become their training garden.
Angela was a visionary thinker, garden designer, plantswoman, architect, and collector to name but a few of her varied skills and interests. She was an important figure in my career and someone I always turned to.

I have been involved since Angela’s death in the upkeep of the site along with a few other key people who have worked tirelessly to maintain the house and gardens.

We will have various open days next year, starting with some in February for Snowdrop season. Bellefield has one of the finest collections in Ireland of both named and naturalised snowdrops. Keep an eye on our brand new Instagram page @rhsibellefield for updates.

To Angela I say thank you. We hope to honour your generosity and to inspire new generations of gardeners. Bellefield with its 2 acres of walled garden, parkland, pasture, meadows, woodlands and bog is a remarkable site, with lots of potential. It is an honour to be able to be trusted with the task of being the new custodian of this remarkable place.

I look forward to welcoming some of you there in the year ahead!”


RHSI Medal of Honour

The RHSI are delighted to announce that Jan Ravensbery, owner of Ravensberg Nursery in Clara Co Offaly was awarded the RHSI Medal of Honour which was given in recognition of distinguished service to horticulture in Ireland.

New Opportunity

Cork City is undergoing a period of employment and population growth. In line with the provisions of the National Planning Framework, the City will continue to be one of the fastest growing areas of the country with its population set to increase by over 50% in the period to 2040. This expansion will be associated with significant investment in the new and upgraded infrastructure and the Council requires additional professional/technical staff with appropriate skills and experience to deliver same.

The City Council now invites applications, from suitably qualified persons, who wish
to be considered for inclusion on a panel from which vacancies for Landscape Architect may be filled. The initial placement will be in the Councils Infrastructure Delivery Directorate but the successful candidate may be assigned to work in/for other Directorates over time.

The Infrastructure Development Directorate is responsible for the planning and delivery of capital projects in the areas of roads and transportation, urban regeneration, urban expansion, parks and amenity services, flood protection, and public realm renewal. The Directorate works closely with a number of funding agencies including the National Transport Authority, the Department of Transport, Transport Infrastructure Ireland and the Office of Public Works. Key objectives for the Directorate at present include the delivery of the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (CMATS) (and in particular the cycling, walking and public transport improvements envisaged therein) the delivery of flood protection and public realm improvements and urban regeneration (including Docklands redevelopment).

This represents an exciting opportunity for a talented and enthusiastic Landscape Architect with proven experience to join the Council and work with a number of multidisciplinary design teams in the planning, design and delivery of new infrastructure in Cork City.

Executive Landscape Architect (5 Year Fixed Term Contract) – Cork City Council

Organic horticulture

Organic Growing and Sustainable Living Skills

One year full-time Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) Level 5 Course where you choose your modules leading to a certificate in  Horticulture
You’ll develop organic gardening skills so you’ll be able to grow fruit, veg and herbs the healthy organic way
Part time and Distance Learning options are also available

Leading to a QQI Level 5 Certificate in Horticulture.

One Year full-time course. (Part time options available)

This course is one of only a few like it in Ireland and runs from mid September to late May. It features lectures, demonstrations and group discussions, field trips and tours.

The course consists of modules, some of which are nationally written and common to other Education bodies under Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI). Many of the modules have been specially written by teachers within the Organic and Co-operative movement. Because it is modular based and nationally certified, students wishing to continue to study further can have their awards recognised at whatever level achieved.

Click here for more information on the modules

The Irish Aesthete

The Irish Aesthete: Ten Years in the Making will mark ten years of Robert’s influential blog, The Irish Aesthete, and the exhibition will run for the month of December at the Irish Architectural Archives, 45 Merrion Square East, Dublin 2. Admission is free.

Robert is best known for his specialist interest in historic houses and gardens in Ireland and the exhibition comprises a selection of his photographs that have been illustrating his blog and social media channels for the past decade. and on Instagram: @theirishaesthete

Importantly, Robert is donating all his photographs to the Archive which now number up to 50,000 images which will then be digitally archived and available in one place for ever more. He has photographed every house of importance or interest in the country, North and South, both ruined and preserved, so this donation should prove to be a huge resource in years to come.

Having never owned a camera, from the beginning Robert used his mobile phone, teaching himself how to make good pictures to hold the attention of viewers. Since then, his photographs have received widespread acclaim and appeared on book covers, in magazine and newspaper articles and on many other sites. In 2019 a book featuring some of his pictures – The Irish Aesthete: Ruins of Ireland – was published in Britain and the United States.

Early Snowdrops by Peter Milligan

For many people one of the well known and loved flowers of spring is the snowdrop. Frequently literary texts will refer to the snowdrop as “the harbinger of spring” and this – inevitably – conjures up an image of small white flowers nodding in the spring breeze.

However, there are many snowdrops that will flower from October onwards, e.g., Galanthus reginae-olgae ‘Ruby’s Green Dream’ that featured on the front of the autumn issue of The Journal was is flower with us from mid-October.
Amongst the snowdrops in flower in our garden now are several beautiful cultivars including G. elwesii var. monostictus ‘Remember Remember’ (named, we believe, after the old rhyme “Remember remember the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason, and plot, etc.”) which will flower at the start of November.

G. elwesii ‘Rainbow Farm Early’ (originating from Rainbow Farm Snowdrops) is in flower as I write and G. plicatus subsp. plicatus ‘Three Ships’ (“I saw three ships on Christmas Day, etc.”) and G. elwesii ‘Santa Claus’ will be in flower in early to mid-December.

All of these, and many other early flowering snowdrops, are well worth pursuing and adding to your garden – they may be a little harder to find and cost more that the simple, but beautiful, G. nivalis but they will add interest to the late autumn and winter garden.

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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