Friday, 4 April 2014

Dublin delight

Whenever I visit a new city, I make a point of checking out the botanical gardens.

It all started when I was researching orchids for The Lost Orchid, a Victorian botanical adventure.

In April, last year, I was lucky enough to get to Dublin - and I finally got round to making a small video

The gardens are a little out of the way, but worth the trip - a single bus from the centre.

The National Botanic Gardens were founded in 1795 by the Dublin Society. The fine Glasnevin collection number over 15,000 species from a wide range of habitats from all around the world.

The stately glasshouses are beautifully restored and packed with luscious plants. They stand in a massive plot, featuring herbaceous borders, rose garden, an alpine yard, pond (more of a lake), rock garden and arboretum.

Conservation plays an important role in the life of the botanic garden and Glasnevin is home to more 300 endangered plant species from around the world including six species, which are already extinct in the wild.

The poet Thomas Tickell owned a house and small estate in Glasnevin and, sold to the Irish Parliament in in 1790, and then given to the Royal Dublin Society to establish Ireland's first botanic gardens. A fantastic double row of yew trees, known as "Addison's Walk" survives from this period. The gardens were the first location in Ireland where the infection responsible for the 1845-1847 potato famine was identified. Throughout the famine, research to stop the infection was undertaken here.

And, of course, the orchids. Boggling. Take a look at a small video I put together: some uplifting spring sunshine and flowers from April 2013. Later, I'll share the delights of botanical gardens in Heidelberg, Amsterdam, Berlin, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

By Pamela Kelt

READ THE BOOK! The Lost Orchid is a Gothic-inspired tale of intrigue set in 1880s, when orchidelirium was raging ... Out on 4 April from On Amazon and Smashwords.

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