Celebrating 40 Years of the Society

Dear Member
Welcome to a special ebulletin which marks 40 years of the society. Our Chair, Mary Forrest provides us with a special introduction. Stephen Butler details a fantastic achievement and fellow members continue to provide interesting and varied snippets and news.

On a summer’s evening in 1981 – July 7th to be exact, the inaugural meeting of the Irish Garden Plant Society took place in the Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin.  A group of plant enthusiasts, both amateur and professional, all keen to conserve garden plants and preserve Ireland’s garden heritage.  Quoting from the first newsletter, ‘the Society’s success and survival will depend greatly on the continuing enthusiasm of all members and their willingness to participate in its activities’.  The activities have been varied, publication of 152 IGPS newsletters and 17 volumes of Moorea. Each member will have their memories of lectures, garden visits and summer lunches.   Purchases at plant sales and treasures from the long running seed exchange grow in many members’ gardens.   The  collection, propagation and distribution of Irish cultivars or plants associated with Irish people have always been a main stay of the Society.  The rectory gardens at Lismacloskey, managed and maintained by members bring Irish garden plants to a wider audience.  This recent successful designation with Irish Heritage Plants is described elsewhere in this e-bulletin by Stephen Butler.  So this July as the Society marks its 40th anniversary all members have much to celebrate.

Mary Forrest  Chair

 Aubretia ‘Mabestown’, raised by Fred Nutty, picture taken at NBG Glasnevin.
News from Stephen Butler.
Irish Heritage Plants update June 2021
The tremendous conservation work by so many of you that grow Irish Heritage Plants has been recognised by Plant Heritage with the awarding of the status of National Collection.
Building on the work of the past many years, the IGPS applied earlier this year for collection status for the Irish Heritage Plants that we have records for. This is basically a very large spreadsheet, detailing where 1065 plants are grown around Ireland, some found only in members gardens, with large collections in several public gardens too.
Plant Heritage, formerly The National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens, was founded over 40 years ago to conserve garden plants as there was no single body coordinating cultivar conservation. Around the UK and Ireland there are now 650 National Collections, usually genus based, but other scopes are possible – linked to a particular garden or person perhaps. In Ireland we have National Collections of Olearia at Malahide Demesne, Potentilla fruticosa at Ardgillan Demesne, Garrya at NBG Glasnevin, Agapanthus at Bali Hai Nursery, Nothofagusand Eucryphia at Mt Usher, and Libertia at Dublin Zoo.
With many members, and several large public gardens, involved, it will probably be the most Dispersed Collection that Plant Heritage has. A huge thank you to all the growers involved, it could not have happened without your combined efforts. The society is the holder of the collection, and all communication will come through the society. Growers or gardens names are not listed.
You can learn more about Plant Heritage and the work they do at https://www.plantheritage.org.uk
More information will appear in the next Newsletter.
Keeping contact is important, updates on IHPs grown are essential, please let me know if you still have IHPs in your garden – every one counts – especially the divisions and rooted cuttings!
If you do not grow any Irish Heritage Plants, why not start now? More details on the IGPS web site.
Stephen Butler, IGPS Heritage Plants Coordinator, igps.heritageplants@gmail.comWe take the lead in researching, finding and propagating Irish plants to ensure their survival
We research great Irish gardens and garden history
We have a hands-on role in a number of garden restoration projects
We actively promote Irish horticulture, with recognition for our exhibits at major international shows, including the Chelsea Flower Show
Last but not least, we enjoy Irish gardens through regular talks, lectures, workshops and garden visits.

News from Maeve.
“The online plant sale was a huge success raising over £1700 after deducting a couple of very minor expenses; hundreds of plants went off to new homes mostly in the Northern region but a couple to the Dublin area and one as far away as Wexford. There were a couple of busy mornings packing the orders before collection day on Saturday 12th June. Many thanks to Adrian Walsh, our Sterling treasurer, who spent the morning taking payments, Agnes Peacocke and her team of helpers, the members who generously donated a wonderful selection of plants and, of course, our enthusiastic members who bought them and made the morning of the sale good fun.”
Pre ordered plants bagged up ready for collection and extra plants on the table for impulse buys
Adeline McClenaghan, gives us some notes on a recent garden visit;
Greba Gardens ImpressionsWhat an exquisite garden to wander around with the sun adding shafts of light through the mature tress in a garden built around a quarry and using its surroundings to their advantage!

It also was a creation of a magical garden with plenty of paths meandering in all directions which if I was a child again I would have lots of fun choosing different paths and playing hours and hours of hide and seek! This added to the intrigue of wondering what was through this narrow part and what was around the corner of this path!

Not far from the entrance is a massive golden acer which shone even brighter, due to the sunshine, and other acers and a bamboo water feature elsewhere in the garden gave a Japanese atmosphere.

Lots of gates enticed you in to different areas with a different feel and with different plants.

In one “everglade” part planted with lots of trees there were lots of ferns, moss grew underfoot with stepping stones and dry stone walling was evident in many parts of the garden. This area is where you walked past a large geranium palmatum, euphorbias and a small vegetable close to the house for easy access for its produce.

Other areas had a mass of candelabra primulas and another grew lots of foxgloves.

There were a number of blue wooden seats and again if a child it would be great for a game to see how many a child could find!

Of course, no garden would be complete without water and on the right as you entered the drive was a large pond complete with water lilies and again near the front of the house is a small pond in a paved area with lots of plants in pots for extra colour which can be interchanged through the seasons.

Other plants that I came across included Californian poppies, solomons’ seal, Camillias, lilies and a large “sport” made by nature called geranium x oxonianum f. thurstonianum .

I had seen this garden 20 years before and it was lovely to revisit and see the maturity of everything and how the plants blended well into its surroundings!



Mervyn Kinloch has written in looking for some inspiration. He is searching for heritage plants that do well in difficult situations. His challenges are as follows;
” For me that means gardening at 600 ASL plus Atlantic storms and thin stoney soil plus plenty of boulders  An old friend used to joke about gardening with a crowbar . Extra topsoil and farmyard manure has mitigated some of the challenges but I dream of planting roses and getting more than 1 season out of them but many of the old varieties of plants and shrubs keep the show on the road and always looking for more but never easy to find . Those members based on our coasts no doubt have similar challenges from different circumstances. Thankfully Brian Duncan’s daffodils thrive here even in the wind and are a key point in the gardening calendar for us.”If any members have some suggestions, stories or even pictures to share on the subject then please do. Send your ideas on to;


From Edith Brosnan;
More Garden Rambles
Lilac is one of the delights of Spring. This is one of my favourites – I think it may be a Syringa x prestoniae but I have long since lost the label! It is one of the many treasures I have from IGPS plants sales this one possibly 25 years ago. Maybe someone can positively identify it?
Echium pininana is a biennial but its seeds germinate freely in the South East so once acquired it is seldom lost. I have a friend who has a “forest” of echium, another spends weeks in Spring weeding seedlings from her gravel, while in colder parts people struggle to keep it over winter. The flower spikes regularly reach 3 – 4 metres in my garden. The late frost this year did hit some – resulting in a rather stunted but multi-stemmed flower. The bees don’t mind they love it!
Azara serrata is another plant attractive to bees and other insects. It seems to be flowering particularly well this year. It is evergreen with glossy green leaves and conspicuous yellow flowers; it is quite different to it’s ‘cousin’ A. microphylla ‘Variegata’ whose flowers are so tiny to be easily overlooked by both humans and insects!
Rhodiola rosea or Sedum rosea was a present from some of my first mentors in gardening – Margaret & Helen Miller of Shortalstown whose garden may have been visited by IGPS members in the past. A native of high altitude in Europe & Asia it is perfectly hardy. I have only recently discovered that it can be propagated easily and I hope to bring a few plants to IGPS Plant Sale in October.

Events up date

Garden visits;

Visit Landscape Architect Linda Murphy’s private garden in Dublin 14 on Saturday 10th July 2021.
There are separate visits planned for morning at 11a.m. and afternoon at 2p.m.
Light refreshments will be served.
As numbers are limited this is a members only event.
Many will have heard an inspiring talk by Linda on zoom earlier in the year – this is a rare opportunity to see her garden.Please follow or use the links below to register;

 Morning Visit


 Afternoon Visit 


The Leinster plant sale; 
Sunday 17 October ,(please note correct day and date in this issue of the bulletin)

Pictures of Linda Murphy’s Garden bellow.

A message from Nichola Monk, membership secretary.

The numbers since the last Ebulletin are greatly improved. There were 75 people outstanding for payment this year. There are now 67. Thank you to those people.
There are additionally 82 who haven’t paid their subscription for two years. This will be the last Ebulletin that those people receive. Quite a few have come in since last time. The cheques are still dropping through the letterbox and new Direct Debits are starting. It’s never too late……
The 10% discount for Direct Debits will be finishing at the end of July.
If your subscription is due you will have received a reminder Email in April and in May from igps.membership@gmail.com with details of how to pay by Direct Debit. (It could possibly have ended up in spam). 
If these communications have gone astray please do give me a ring (00447828 434350) or send me an Email (see above) and I can provide you with any information you need and or resend the reminder Email.
Our preferred method of payment is by online Direct Debit.

You can also pay by Cheque, Cash and Postal Order in Euros and Sterling. 

Subscription Rates

Euros DD Save 10%* until the end of July
One Adult €30 €27
Joint for 2 members €42 €38
Student (Full Time) €15.50 €14
Sterling DD Save 10%* until the end of July
One adult £25 £23
Joint for 2 members £36 £32
Student (Full Time) £13 £12
*rounded up/down
So finally, a big “Congratulations” to all of you members who have brought the Society through these past 40 years. A big thank you to those members especially, who have voluntarily contributed their time and skills into creating the wonderful publications of Morrea, the newsletter and those who have established and cared for the now accredited ‘ heritage plant collections’.
Congratulations on 40 years of the Irish Garden Plant Society.Happy gardening
from Branka, Maeve and your fellow members.