Monday, February 22, 2016

Ireland National Botanic Garden - Dublin (Review)

Entrance - Dublin National Botanic Garden
When on holiday I am compelled to visit local Botanic Gardens. You can see my prior reviews of the Huntington Garden in California, then Denver Botanic Garden, the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago, the Bird Haven Conservatory outside Chicago... well you get the points. I love these places.  So I was delighted when I was able to drag my traveling companion to Ireland's National Botanic Garden located just outside Dublin. Easy to reach by bus!

I was attracted to the location based on the history. The first glass houses were built in the 1700's - then expanded as unusual plants from around the world started to make their way to Ireland. Between 1840 - 1860 the major glass display houses were created. This is the same time as conservatories were springing up in Chicago. It was so nice to see the similarities and differences. Oh the Victorian / Edwardian times when strolling in Greenhouses was the best day out, and when great strides were made in understanding the plant kingdom. 

Dublin National Botanic Garden

A very interesting role of this garden was the assessment of exotic trees to the Ireland environment. Strolling the grounds these old trees look simultaneously majestic and out of place. Many of these are planted in groves - so you can see several different species of Oak tree, Larch, Holly and others side by side.

Here's a quick review of garden overall - in addition I have some specific posts for the Rose Garden and an outdoor Dahlia display at the Dublin National Botanic Garden. 

All photos taken in the spring of 2015. Also see my other reviews of Ireland sites and adventures.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Veg Garden Envy and Creative Ideas

Raised Bed - Vegetable Garden
This past weekend I had the opportunity to visit a very avid home gardener in Austin, Texas. I have a serious case of garden envy going.  Even though I visited in the off season - it was easy to tell that there was a good deal of planning and learning that went into this garden design.

From the overview photo you can catch a glimpse of the numerous raised beds, use of arbors too. Off to the side are more raised beds in the shade, a field for native flowers, a spot where a cistern is going up this year, and fruit trees including an olive. The front yard also has a man-made creek running through it for wild-life. One of the features that helps make this a certified wildlife habitat.