The National War Memorial Gardens at Islandbridge, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, are dedicated to the memory of 49,400 Irish soldiers who died in the First World War. They are in a wonderful setting, along the River Liffey, and adjacent to the Phoenix Park.
Escallonia ‘C F Ball’ is named for Charles Frederick Ball, who was killed at Gallipoli in 1915. Charles Frederick Ball, who trained at Kew Gardens, was an Assistant Keeper at the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin and advised at the Acton estate at Kilmacurragh, now, also, part of the National Botanic Gardens. Escallonia CF Ball is one seedling from several raised by him before the war, another – ‘Alice’ – is named for his wife.
The Great War caused the demise of numerous gardens as so many staff volunteered for service in the British Army and other Allied Forces, never to return. The Irish Garden Plant Society is pleased to be able to help keep the memory of these people with us
A group from the Irish Garden Plant Society attended the ceremonial planting at the War Memorial Gardens on the 28th of June. It was a very dignified and surprisingly moving occasion. Billy McCone, IGPS Chairperson, opened with a short introduction and gave some background to C. F. Ball and his work. Seamus O’Brien spoke of the links between the Acton family at Kilmacurragh and the National Botanic Gardens at Glasnevin. Peter Acton and his daughter Gemma spoke about the effect of WW1 on their family and the transformation of Europe in the intervening years.
Photographs from Maeve Bell