Text and images courtesy of Brendan Sayers

The work of the society in preserving our Irish Heritage Plants (IHPs) is integral to our aims and distinguishes us from other horticultural societies. Over the years members have diligently propagated plants, brought them to our plant sales and spread our IHPs around. Other than the database which records the Dispersed National Collection of IHPs it is difficult to know what we have achieved over the years as we do not yet have a system of recording where these plants end up, whether they thrive or died and if they continue to be propagated.

A recent initiative by the IHP working group is to target some of our rarer trees, assist in getting them propagated and then offer them to members and public and private gardens in what we hope will be a sustainably funded project.

Zelkova carpinifolia is well known from the large and striking specimen growing close to the Herbarium at the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin. It is one of the most notable trees in Ireland.

The presentation at Blarney Castle and Gardens. From left to right, Adam Whitbourn (Head Gardener), Mary Forrest, (IGPS Chair) and Kirsty Martin of Blarney.

In 2022 Jan Ravensberg of Ravensberg Nurseries received scion wood from the tree at Glasnevin and grafted approximately a dozen young trees. He marketed the trees under the cultivar name ‘Glasnevin’ and it is fitting that this new cultivar spearheads our new initiative. The society has obtained and distributed 6 trees to large public and private gardens.


Few members would have space for these trees but can enjoy watching them grow in Ardgillan Castle and Gardens, Birr Castle Demesne, Blarney Castle and Gardens, Castlewellan Forest Park, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens and Malahide Castle and Gardens.

Robert Logan (Chair of IGPS Northern region), Claire Woods head gardener at Hillsborough Castle Gardens and Karl Taylor, one of the gardeners, planting Zelkova carpinifolia Glasnevin’ last week. (It’s in a prime site to the south of the Castle, just in view from the terrace).