Sunday 3 February 2013

A weekend of snowdrops and trees in Ireland

Galanthus nivalis below old Beech at Altamont Gardens, Co. Carlow.

I've been over to Ireland for the weekend, primarily to speak at the Irish Snowdrop Gala, where I was able to catch up with quite a few old friends and acquaintances from among the large number of people present. In the morning there were a couple of talks at a hotel and then we all went over to Altamont Gardens for a snowdrop sale and the chance to look round the well-stocked, rather quaint old garden. The snowdrops were a lot further forward than they are here, but I was told that they'd hardly had any winter there this year. It was a bright if chilly day, lovely to be out in, and the Gala was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Galanthus elwesii 'Skyward' - an Irish selection with very upright scapes.

The  Avon Bulbs sales table was very popular...
 After the Snowdrop Gala I went back to Kilmacurragh, Co. Wicklow, with Seamus O'Brien, curator of the Kilmacurragh Arboretum and this morning had a fascinating walk round with him. It is an old collection, noted for its numerous specimens from the earliest introductions made by the likes of Joseph Hooker and Thomas Lobb, the Veitches and even Père Delavay, as well as Wilson and Forrest. With rich soil, ample moisture and mild conditions many have made magnificent specimens, and the collection as a whole is of huge historical importance. Now run by the National Botanic Gardens, the collection and gardens are being renovated through the vigorous activity of Seamus and his team, and with numerous recent plantings of rare species will soon gain a reputation for its contemporary plantings too.

Not only trees at Kilmacurragh: Bergenia purpurascens 'Irish Crimson'.

Cordyline indivisa, planted only thre years ago.

Spring must be on its way, at least in the kindly west: Rhododendron arboreum var. roseum, grown from Joseph Hooker's collections made in Sikkim in 1849.

The biggest Podocarpus salignus outside Chile.
The fluted trunk of an ancient Yew.

Seamus O'Brien and Amomyrtus luma (Luma apiculata)


  1. Glad you enjoyed your visit.

  2. Wow, jealous! Look at the hoards of people fighting over snowdrops! LOL


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