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.

I enjoyed the Curvilinear Range which was was completed in 1848 and extended in the 1860s and restored and updated in keeping with the original design. I wonder if at the time of its construction if the design was radical and controversial. 

The Curvilinear Range, Dublin National Botanic Garden

With the design- tall plantings inside the range are clustered to the center. Along the exterior are the heating elements and raised beds. 

The Curvilinear Range, Dublin National Botanic Garden 
Interior Panorama,
The Curvilinear Range, Dublin National Botanic Garden

In one area I found the interior raised bed to be rimmed with a very thick root bed - not seeming to be hardscaped in place. Maybe started with some highly fibrous materials - such as palm. 

Tucked behind one of the display houses was this xeriscape - a nice start with several interesting species. Our tour guide said the soil is strongly alkaline which limits some of the plantings. 

Inside many of the display houses it's "plants in pots" which was the standard at the time. I'm not a fan of this type of presentation but... 

One of the low lights for me was the level of care for the plants both exterior to and interior to the display houses. Lots of infestations and unhealthy plants. Many areas of rot and decay.  My traveling companion was oblivious to this until I pointed it out. For example - the plants below from the Palm house and desert room - so sad. 

Parting shots - one of my favorite areas was the vegetable and herb garden - a relatively new addition at the National Botanic. 
Dublin Botanic - Herb Garden

Dublin Botanic Rose garden - see prior post.

Dublin Botanic Outdoor Dahlia display - see prior post

Have a wonderful day!

Teresa Marie

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