Agapanthus ‘Helen’

Beginning in the 1990’s Gary Dunlop, the founder and owner of Ballyrogan Nursery in County Down, bred, selected, and introduced Agapanthus, Crocosmia, Dierama, and Erythronium to mention but a few of the plant genera in which he had an interest. Charles Nelson (E C Nelson, A Heritage of Beauty, IGPS, 2000) lists some fifteen  agapanthus that can be attributed to Mr Dunlop. At this time, we have been able to add some other introductions to the above list to arrive at a total of some forty cultivars; we cannot guarantee that this is a complete record, there may be more.

The agapanthus featured here, A ‘Helen’, is a real beauty. As the photograph shows the white flushed, light violet flowers are a perfect foil for the vivid yellow stamens and, as can also be seen, this cultivar is beloved by pollinators. Sadly, Gary Dunlop closed his nursery in 2019 but many of his introductions can still be found in the nursery trade  and are well worth seeking out. Find them, propagate them, give some to a fellow member and send some to an IGPS plant sale to ensure that these Irish introductions are preserved in our gardens.


As appeared in Newsletter 156, September 2022. Text courtesy of Peter Milligan and photo by Nicola Milligan