It is widely agreed that the nature of the biodiversity crisis necessitates an all-island response. In this episode, we look at the ways that communities can be enabled to tackle this crisis through collaborative approaches.
We explore the intersection of ecology with archaeology, heritage, and sense of place, and the value of knowledge gathering and sharing. As we move through shifting normals, with each new generation seeing the ecosystem conditions in which they grew up as ‘normal’, we explore how people’s awareness can change as they get involved in local biodiversity projects.
Dr Una Fitzpatrick is a senior ecologist at the National Biodiversity Data Centre. She is responsible for the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan.
Mark Horton is the All Ireland Director of The Rivers Trust and chairperson of Ballinderry Rivers Trust.
Shirley Clerkin is the heritage officer at Monaghan County Council. An environmental scientist, she studied law before working in the NGO sector including the Irish Wildlife Trust and An Taisce. County Heritage Officer – Monaghan County Council | LinkedIn
Source to Tap Project
Centre for Environmental Data and Recording NI
About Us – Monaghan Heritage It is widely agreed that the nature of the biodiversity crisis necessitates an all-island response. In this episode, we look at the ways that communities can be enabled to tackle this crisis through collaborative approaches.
We are delighted to announce that Bord Bia’s Bloom Garden Festival in the Phoenix Park, Dublin is returning to the Park this June Bank Holiday from the 2nd – 6th June 2022.
RHSI members get a very special Bloom ticket offer for 2022 as per previous years. Book on-line only before June 1st and use the promotional code BUD22 to get an extra €2 discount off advance ticket price to Bloom. This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.
We are delighted to welcome three Munster newcomers to our terrific collection of Partner Gardens. Dawros Gallery & Garden in Co. Kerry, along with Tourin House & Gardens and Springhill, both in Co Waterford.
Please see full information on the RHSI website. And, by scrolling to the end of the Partner Gardens section, you can find the listings for each county and maybe arrange to view a few gardens clustered in the same area.
DAWROS GALLERY & GARDEN
This contemporary five acre garden situated near Kenmare in Co Kerry features an abundance of mass planted grasses and drifts of perennials inspired by the Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf. The garden, situated in native woodland along the Dromoughty River waterfall also includes native bog and wildlife ponds, an orchard and woodland garden.
The Gallery exhibits jewellery and paintings, many inspired by the garden.
Vehicular access limited to cars and vans only due to narrow access bridge.
Appointments to visit by email only.
Free entry to RHSI members on presentation of current membership card.
TOURIN HOUSE & GARDENS
Situated on the banks of the River Blackwater with a fine view of the Knockmealdown mountains to the north, Tourin is surrounded by arable land and a fifteen acre garden with mature broadleaved trees and a fine collection of shrubs and plants. An Italianate-style villa with classical proportions, Tourin House is home to the Jameson family of Irish Whiskey fame. The present generation of Kristin, Andrea and Tara are all three artists and passionate gardeners.
Tourin House & Gardens
Co Waterford. P51 YY1K
Tel: 058 54405
Mobile: 086 811 3841
Gardens open April-Sept, Tuesday-Saturday 1pm-5pm.
Entry fee: 50% reduction for RHSI members on presentation of current membership card.
The gardens at Springhill above the River Suir have been continuously planted over the past thirty five years by the present owners. There is a more manicured garden around the house, complete with a pool, herbaceous planting, box hedging and maze. The garden gradually extends out over six acres in a Robinsonian style with a great variety of rare and mature trees reaching the peripheral shelter belt of native trees planted by the owners when they first arrived in 1987.
In May 2022, the IGS will explore the history of the Irish Country House Garden at the City Assembly House, Dublin, with the launch of In Harmony with Nature: The Irish Country House Garden 1600-1900. Alongside this unique exhibition, Stepping Through the Gate: Inside Ireland’s Walled Gardens will return to the walls of the O’Connell Room, and feature specially commissioned paintings of Irish Walled Gardens by four leading artists. Curated by Robert O’Byrne, former vice-President of the IGS, both exhibitions are not to be missed and will be of exceptional interest to anyone with an interest in Irish gardens and gardening. The Exhibition will be open to the public from 20th May to late July, Tuesday-Sunday (10am-5pm).
In Harmony with Nature: The Irish Country House Garden
While the changing landscape of the Irish countryside has been extensively examined in recent decades, the evolution of gardens attached to country houses remains under investigated.
This exhibition will explore the history of the Irish Country House Garden using paintings, engravings and photographs as well as film and other media creating an exciting, engaging and informative experience.
It will open c.1600 with sites around castles and fortified houses such as those at Lismore, County Waterford and Portumna, County Galway, and it will end with two great island gardens created just before the First World War: Garnish, County Kerry and Lambay, County Dublin.
The exhibition will consider what makes our gardens different from those found in other countries. What plants were favoured during which eras? Who were the most significant plantsmen and women? What role did owners play in laying out a garden? Who were the most important gardeners? What new species were introduced to Ireland, especially in the 19th century?
Stepping Through the Gate: Inside Ireland’s Walled Gardens
Walled gardens have a long history going back millennia having often simultaneously served not just as places to grow fruit and vegetables, but also areas of privacy and of protection from intemperate weather conditions.
This exhibition will feature fifty specially commissioned paintings of Walled Gardens by four distinguished artists: Lesley Fennell, Andrea Jameson, Maria Levinge and Alison Rosse.
All four artists are active gardeners and are people who understand plants. Alison Rosse and her husband inherited responsibility for one of Ireland’s finest demesnes at Birr Castle which includes superlative walled gardens laid out by his late parents. Lesley Fennell can take credit for creating a truly lovely garden at Burtown, County Kildare. Together with her two sisters, at Tourin, County Waterford, Andrea Jameson ensures that the walled garden remains as productive as ever, while Maria Levinge, having moved house a few years ago, embarked on establishing a new garden in County Wexford.
Paintings in the exhibition will be available for purchase.
Digging New Ground, the Irish Country House Garden 1650-1900
To coincide with these exhibitions the Irish Georgian Society has published Digging New Ground, the Irish Country House Garden 1650-1900. Edited by Finola O’Kane and Robert O’Byrne, this book investigates the history, design and planting of the Irish country house garden and considers garden making as an art form in all its dimensions. It is available in the City Assembly House, on the IGS shop website and in all good bookshops.
Upcoming Irish Specialist Nursery Association plant sales
ISNA Plant Fair at Airfield House and Gardens, Dundrum, Dublin 14 on 22nd May. It runs from 9.30am to 5pm and many of our members will be there with trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials and garden paraphernalia. Advance booking is available on the Airfield site.
ISNA will be taking part in the Mallow Home and Gardens Show which takes place on Friday 27th, Sat 28th and Sunday 29th May.
Make a date with the Organic Centre this Biodiversity Week from May 13th- May 22nd with their bustling line up of free events in partnership with the Irish Environmental Network.
There’s something for everyone.
Find out more about the now famous wildlife being spotted around the centre with our trail camera, and how we all might take care of nature.
There will be discussions on how biodiversity can impact health to tours including on sustainable forestry.
Check out what you can spot on the new walk that leads to the centre with our botanists.
And why don’t you and your family explore for butterfly’s and bugs or enjoy a natured themed craft workshop.
If you’re looking for the perfect place to spend a day out in Donegal, Oakfield Park is a wonderful place to escape with family and friends. Located in Raphoe in east Donegal, Oakfield Park is one of the county’s best loved outdoor attractions and has everything you need to plan the perfect outdoor adventure.
The grounds at Oakfield Park includes a host of sites for families, couples and friends to explore including walled gardens, ponds, lakes, an outdoor playground, a hedge maze, heritage trees and sculptures. Children can make a wish at Oakfield Park’s Faerie tree, while navigating their way through the extensive walks and trails and garden lovers can enjoy guided tours of the upper gardens.
Weave your way through the park’s gardens along 4.5km of narrow-gauge track on Oakfield Park’s diesel and steam trains, the ‘Duchess of Difflin’ and ‘The Earl of Oakfield’. The train operate passenger trips around the grounds, which is a magical way to explore the park’s gardens as the train passes through flower meadows, beautiful woodlands, willow tunnels, oak circles, boardwalks, heritage trees, a wooden causeway and sparking streams and lakes.
After a day exploring the parklands, visitors can refuel in Buffers Restaurant which is open daily and returning with a delicious new menu created with produce from the park’s gardens, and a special menu for vegans.
Oakfield Park is open from April to September and one the park’s annual highlight events, Oakfest, will return in 2022 with an exciting line-up of musicians. Other family friendly events to look out for during the summer season include Teddy Bear’s Picnic, Steam Sundays and Garden Tours. Whether you’re on a group tour, a gardening excursion or a Wild Atlantic Way adventure, Oakfield Park is the perfect place to spend a magical day in Donegal.
For April, May & September Oakfield Park is open Wednesday to Sunday from 12pm to 6pm and open every day in June, July and August. Visit oakfieldpark.com or call +353 (0) 74 91 73922.
We need no excuse to break out and visit places now that Covid restrictions are relaxed. What better than an early spring visit to some great gardens to lift the spirits. I have just come back from a private visit to Kent, the Garden of England, and took the opportunity to drop in on Scotney Castle and Hever Castle.
Scotney Castle – the famous romantic picturesque landscaped garden created by the Hussey family – the centre piece of this lavish garden is the moated 14th century ruined castle on whose island is a pretty herb garden designed by Lanning Roper. The octagonal Walled Garden must not be missed. The Victorian mansion house looks down on the old castle over the magnolia, rhododendron and azalea clad quarry and hillside below.
Hever Castle – steeped in history, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn (Queen for 1,000 days) and the home of Anne of Cleves for seventeen years after her divorce from Henry VIII – a classic castle, a moat, whimsical topiary and an excellent garden. The parkland is filled with wonderful mature trees. The formal gardens and the lake were the creation of William Waldorf Astor who acquired the estate in 1903. The extensive lake (38 acres) was dug out by hand by 800 men over two years and is the backdrop for the enormous Italian Garden designed to show off Astor’s vast collection of statuary. The Tudor Garden and mock-Tudor village (also created by Astor) adjacent to the castle are delightful.
Although the weather was amazing for late March, the rhododendrons were not yet in bloom, but the gardens were nevertheless stunning with spring bulbs and early blossom. It is always interesting to see gardens in the “off-season” and marvel at the structure and layout that is otherwise sometimes hidden by a later abundance of growth.
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!
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.