Blog

News and Stories from the National Botanic Gardens

This is the News Blog of the National Botanic Gardens. We also run an Irish Botany News Blog and a Research Projects Blog on our Science pages. 

Self-Guided Biodiversity Trail

Self-Guided Biodiversity Trail

Designed for National Heritage Week and suitable for all of the family! Take part in this self-guided tour of the gardens, exploring biodiversity at its best while finding out about the importance and variety of pollinators all around us....

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Press Release: Aquatic House Complex

Press Release: Aquatic House Complex

OPW commences work to save important buildings at Botanic Gardens with a plan to restore them in the future.     Visitors to the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin will have noticed what looks like some building work commencing on site in recent days....

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In Praise of Weeds

In Praise of Weeds

The past few weeks have seen the vast majority of us confined to a much smaller area than usual, and even with a new routine of responsibilities to juggle between home, work and family, it's likely that life has contained more stillness and quiet than we would have...

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Biodiversity Week Challenge!

Biodiversity Week Challenge!

Express your inner artist! Join us this week for our creative Biodiversity Challenge on Facebook » What's it About? Despite how much we have been using our technology over the last few weeks we can’t forget how dependent we are on healthy and vibrant ecosystems for...

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May, the month of International Biodiversity Day

May, the month of International Biodiversity Day

Spring into Summer The days are getting longer and there’s a bit of heat in the sun. Hasn’t time flown despite the lockdown! May is named after Maia, the Greek goddess of fertility and growth whose festival was held in May. The month signifies the changeover from...

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Earth Day 2020 Drawing Challenge

Earth Day 2020 Drawing Challenge

For Earth Day 2020 (22 April 2020), we invited everyone, young and old, to take part in a drawing challenge on Facebook. The theme for the competition was ‘Take care of the Earth and the Earth will take care of you’. We asked you to show us your world, the different...

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Appreciating Nature, all around You!

Appreciating Nature, all around You!

At this time, when we're all stuck at home for most of the day, what we'll really benefit from is getting out into nature to enjoy the fresh air and the wildlife that's all around us; whether that's in our our gardens or during our daily exercise with members of our...

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Gardens in April – Biodiversity in Action

Gardens in April – Biodiversity in Action

It’s the start of April in Ireland and spring is really springing. Lots of colour is appearing in the garden. Rosemary should be in full bloom now and attracting bumblebees. Also out are the beautiful blue forget-me-nots, loved by bees and other insects. You’ll also...

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National Botanic Gardens Kids’ Crossword

National Botanic Gardens Kids’ Crossword

Have a go at our National Botanic Gardens Easter crossword—for kids! It's lots of fun. You'll find a lot of clues related to plants and nature. Download and print: Botanic Gardens Children's Easter Crossword (pdf file)

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National Botanic Gardens Crossword

National Botanic Gardens Crossword

Have a go at our National Botanic Gardens crossword. You'll find a lot of clues related to plants and nature. There is one puzzle and a choice of simple or cryptic clues. Download and print: Botanic Gardens Crossword v1 (pdf file) Find the solution here: Botanic...

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Spring Nature Hunt: Activity Sheet for Kids

Spring Nature Hunt: Activity Sheet for Kids

(Now also: as Gaeilge) We've created a Spring-Themed Nature Hunt to help you and your kids to engage with the outdoors. There is no need for you to go anywhere crowded for this, as you should be able to find most of these things in your own garden or local green...

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Bird Bingo! Activity Sheet

Bird Bingo! Activity Sheet

(Now also as Gaeilge!) Our garden birds are busy building nests and preparing for their young at the moment. What birds can you spot in your own garden or out your window? If you don’t have a home printer don’t worry, you can still play. Just follow the directions in...

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Celebrating a Sustainable Christmas at Glasnevin

Celebrating a Sustainable Christmas at Glasnevin

This year we have more festive events than ever, including a two day Eco Craft Market, concerts, themed tours, and of course visits to Santa Claus. From the beginning of December our festive displays will be up - the giant wreaths and Christmas tree in the Visitor...

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Seasonal Guide Jobs Advertised for 2020

Seasonal Guide Jobs Advertised for 2020

CLOSING DATE THURSDAY 10TH OCTOBER 2019 Ever thought of working at the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin or Kilmacurragh? Now is your opportunity to apply for seasonal guide jobs! For details and to apply go to the Office of Public Works website. 

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Sculpture in Context 2019

Sculpture in Context 2019

Now in its 19th year, Sculpture in Context presents a thought-provoking collection of work that bridges the gap between art and nature, organic forms and man-made objects. The beautiful setting of the National Botanic Gardens plays host to an impressive collection of...

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Sustainable Living Festival

Sustainable Living Festival

Living sustainably can be a challenge, with a complex range of choices we can make to lighten our impact on the Earth. What actions can we take ourselves at home, at work, and in our community? Take part in our Festival and discover practical, affordable tips on how...

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Writing for a Change: Flash Fiction Competition

Writing for a Change: Flash Fiction Competition

The Irish Writers Centre is delighted to announce a Flash Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction competition themed around Climate Change in partnership with the National Botanic Gardens and the Five Lamps Arts Festival. Climate change and the environment are constant...

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Christmas Opening Hours

Christmas Opening Hours

The National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, open every day of the year except Christmas Day, Tuesday 25th December. Every other day during the holidays you can enjoy a brisk stroll or enjoy the tropical surroundings in the glasshouses - an ideal break between Christmas...

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Christmas in the Gardens

Christmas in the Gardens

As ever, we are running a series of seasonal events in the run up to Christmas. Highlights include the Christmas Market on Sunday 9th December (featuring Santa Claus), festive themed tours, and eco-crafts for all ages. Saturday 24th November & 15th December CHILDREN’S...

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Halloween at Glasnevin 2018

Halloween at Glasnevin 2018

This year was our busiest yet! Our annual Halloween extravaganza featured Magical Plants, Decorated Pumpkins, a Harvest Display, and games with Maths Week Ireland. Thank you to all who took part and dressed up on the day! If you missed our main event don't fret -...

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Halloween Harvest Display 2018

Halloween Harvest Display 2018

Each year our display features produce grown in the Botanic Gardens Organic Vegetable Garden, Grass Garden, Nursery and beyond. Guides Ciara Travers and Melissa O'Brien put the finishing touches to the scene last week and it is expected to last until early November....

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Totally Terrific Tomato Tally Makes New World Record!

https://www.facebook.com/TotallyTerrificTomatoFestival/videos/313017122617422/ As of Friday 24th August 2018 we have a record breaking number of tomato cultivars on display in the Teak House at the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland, Glasnevin. The Totally Terrific...

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Heritage Week 2018 – Sharing Stories

Heritage Week 2018 – Sharing Stories

Saturday 18th to Sunday 26th August 2018 This year we will be hosting a variety of events to celebrate Heritage Week at both Glasnevin and Kilmacurragh. We are delighted to host the Totally Terrific Tomato Festival at Glasnevin and share the remarkable story of the...

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Totally Terrific Tomato Festival competition

Totally Terrific Tomato Festival competition

As part of the Totally Terrific Tomato Festival we are running a tomato growers competition! We are accepting entries on Friday 17th from 9.30am - 4.30pm & Saturday 18th August from 10am-12pm. The tomatoes will be judged at 1pm on Saturday 18th by our expert...

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Garden Plants of Ireland – An introduction

Garden Plants of Ireland – An introduction

Over the centuries, Irish gardeners, nurseries, and estates have contributed a wealth of additions to our gardens. Whether an odd seedling of a different colour, an upright form of a usually tumbling shrub, or a crafted or spontaneous hybrid between two plants, these...

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Water Shortages and the Hosepipe Ban

Water Shortages and the Hosepipe Ban

Water shortages are affecting us all following the recent drought. Following the hose-pipe ban, we are committed to leading by example. We will continue to care for our plants using watering cans, with a focus on important conservation collections. We do use our own...

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Events Programme Now Available!

Events Programme Now Available!

We are delighted to announce that the programme of events until next February is now available to download. Click here to access your digital copy. From exhibitions to themed tours, guided walks to children's workshops, there is something for everyone going on at the...

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Science Week 2017

Science Week 2017

  The National Botanic Gardens have a programme of events for National Science Week. One of Ireland's moored weather buoys will be with us all week. Standing 4m tall and weighing 3.5 tonnes (right) these buoys are vital sentinels to offshore weather conditions...

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Totally Terrific Tomato Festival 2017

Totally Terrific Tomato Festival 2017

  For this week the National Botanic Gardens is hosting the largest collection of Tomato cultivars ever assembled in Ireland. The Totally Terrific Tomato Festival takes place at Killruddery House and Gardens each year in September. This year 203 cultivars went on...

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A Rare Find: Green-Flowered Helleborine

A Rare Find: Green-Flowered Helleborine

The National Botanic Gardens are pleased to announce a significant find in Ireland's botanical world. The green flowered helleborine (Epipactis phyllanthes) is a rare Irish orchid confined to little more than a dozen sites on the island. Its rarity and variability...

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Sheep-Eating plant blooming at the gardens NOW!

Sheep-Eating plant blooming at the gardens NOW!

We are delighted to announce the blooming of one of the most handsome plants in our collection. Puya berteroniana (aka. the Sheep-eating plant) has begun flowering in the Curvilinear House and will last through to the first week of June. But it is unfurling fast as...

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Visit to the Gardens by HRH The Prince of Wales

Visit to the Gardens by HRH The Prince of Wales

On Friday morning we were delighted to welcome His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales to the National Botanic Gardens. As Patron of Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), the Prince of Wales has a special interest in the work of Botanic Gardens around the...

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Ecological Genetics Group: 61st Annual Meeting

Ecological Genetics Group: 61st Annual Meeting

The 61st Meeting of the Ecological Genetics Group (EGG) will be held at the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland between the 4th and 6th of April, 2017. This will be the first time that EGG has been held outside the UK, and we look forward to welcoming them to Dublin....

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Westonbirt Orchid Medal

Westonbirt Orchid Medal

Glasshouse Foreman Brendan Sayers, has been awarded the RHS, Westonbirt Orchid Medal for 2017. The Medal is awarded annually to an individual for any scientific, literary, or other outstanding achievement in connection with orchids. Brendan has dedicated a lifetime to...

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Sonder Ireland Palmhouse Video

Sonder Ireland Palmhouse Video

  Sonder Ireland have made a small video celebration of the Palmhouse. It is only from the air that the full beauty of the Palmhouse is seen. We hope to persuade them to make more films of the Gardens to give us all a different perspective on the more well known...

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Baobab in Bloom

Baobab in Bloom

The Baobab tree (Adansonia digitata) is one of Africa's most enigmatic trees. In the wild it can look like an 'upside down tree' as the short spreading branches look like roots sticking in the air. One African legend has it that that god took a dislike to the Baobab...

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Sackville Street Art Project

Sackville Street Art Project

Of the 485 people who died during the Easter Rising, 262 were civilians. The Sackville Street Art Project has brought together people to build model houses to represent each of these civilians killed during that momentous week. Each model commemorates the lives of one...

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Latest Calendar of Events

Latest Calendar of Events

We have a program of over 80 events planned for the next six months including exhibitions, talks, workshops and guided walks. Feasting from Nature’s Plate, 2016A special theme this year will be Feasting from Nature’s Plate, a celebration of edible plants in all their...

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Images of Starlight

Images of Starlight

An exhibition of Astronomical Images captured by amateur astronomers from all over Ireland will run from Tuesday 2nd - Sunday 21st February This is the first major photographic exhibition by Irish astronomers. The night sky has always fascinated people. Recent...

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Decorated Pumpkin Competition

Decorated Pumpkin Competition

This is the 7th year for the Pumpkin Competition. Bring your decorated pumpkin to the National Botanic Gardens, on Saturday 17th October 2015 between 10am and 5pm. Pumpkins should only be decorated on the external skin, we will not accept pumpkins which are cut into...

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Tolka Nights

Tolka Nights

Tolka Nights (tolkanights.com) is a series of public events happening in September in three distinct sites along the river Tolka. The final evening - at the National Botanic Gardens - will be a symposium of presentations about the Tolka, flooding, and work by other...

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Sculpture in Context 2015

Sculpture in Context 2015

The National Botanic Gardens is delighted to host the annual Sculpture In Context exhibition, now in its fourteenth year at the gardens from Thursday 3rd September to Friday 16th of October 2015. Sculpture In Context is the largest outdoor Sculpture exhibition held in...

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Physics in the Gardens

Physics in the Gardens

To mark Science week (9-16 Nov) we are once again welcoming back the Institute of Physics and the Irish Science on Stage team. Demonstrations of Archimedes Law shown through tug of war, Bernoulli's Law with giant windbags, Faraday's Law of Induction shown with a...

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Exhibition – Exploring the Microcosm

Exhibition – Exploring the Microcosm

A remarkable exhibition of micrographs A Visual Odyssey Into Invisible Worlds by Karl Gaff explores the richness, complexity and sheer beauty of places far beyond the limits of human vision. Explore treacherous mountain ranges on a single grain of pollen, probe the...

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Exhibition: Kilmacurragh – Through the artist’s eye

Exhibition: Kilmacurragh – Through the artist’s eye

An exhibition showing the work of six leading artists who have been inspired by the gardens and plant collections of Kilmacurragh will be on show at the Visitor Centre for the next 3 weeks. The exhibition commemorates the outbreak of the Great War, which had such a...

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Ceramics Ireland Members’ Exhibition 2014 and  Sylva

Ceramics Ireland Members’ Exhibition 2014 and Sylva

We have a joint exhibition for the next month, with Ceramics Ireland's annual members' exhibition and the Sylva exhibition. Sylva features drawings by Sarah Simblet specially produced for the New Sylva, written by Gabriel Hemery. This beautiful volume celebrates John...

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Speaking with Plants and  Sylva

Speaking with Plants and Sylva

Dr. Niamh Shaw, a performer, scientist and engineer, is passionate about awakening people’s curiosity. She has collaborated with Prof Bruce Osborne of UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science to present 'Speaking with Plants' at the Gardens at 14:30 on Saturday...

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Aibítir – a celebration of Irish Botanical Art

Aibítir – a celebration of Irish Botanical Art

Aibítir Éireannach i Ealaíon Luibheolaíoch The Irish Alphabet in Botanical Art May 2-25, 2014, open everyday, free entry The Irish Society of Botanical Artists will present their inaugural exhibition at the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin in May 2014. The...

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Win a Lego hamper by collecting Deadly Plants

Win a Lego hamper by collecting Deadly Plants

The National Botanic Gardens has teamed up with TRTE's elev8 and the RTÉ Guide for an online sticker album about plants called elev8’s Deadly Plants. It’s a great way to introduce 7-11 year olds to plant life. Behind each sticker you will find fun facts on our most...

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‘Gro’ comes to the Gardens

‘Gro’ comes to the Gardens

The National Botanic Gardens is marking the millennial anniversary of the Battle of Clontarf on Good Friday 1014 by displaying the replica Viking ship Gro for the next 3 weeks. In 2005 the Irish National Heritage Park at Ferrycarrig in County Wexford had a Viking ship...

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RTÉ’s Tracks and Trails

RTÉ’s Tracks and Trails

The National Botanic Gardens features on RTÉ's popular Tracks and Trails this Friday night (28th February) at 7.30pm. Broadcaster Jim Sherwin chooses a walk starting at the Bull Wall in Clontarf in his native Dublin, where he travels along the coastal road before...

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Gairdíní na Lus – Television series on TG4

Gairdíní na Lus – Television series on TG4

  The final episode of Gairdíní na Lus is being broadcast on Tuesday 11 Feb at 8 pm on TG4, repeated Sunday at 9 pm. The previous episodes can be viewed on the TG4 player. Made by Midas productions, with the support of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, the...

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Twelve new species of Pitcher Plants from the Philippines

Twelve new species of Pitcher Plants from the Philippines

  One of the roles of the National Botanic Gardens is taxonomic research into the Irish and world flora. Over the past year the Director, Matthew Jebb, has published (along with a colleague at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew - Martin Cheek) twelve new species of...

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Graphic Art Studio Dublin present

Graphic Art Studio Dublin present

  Graphic Studio Dublin have commissioned a fabulous collection of 100 new fine art prints by 100 artists. Each print is inspired by different aspects of the National Botanic Gardens Dublin and at Kilmacurragh. This ambitious project is a fundraising initiative...

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Decorated Pumpkin Competition

Decorated Pumpkin Competition

This is the 5th year for the Pumpkin Competition. Bring your decorated pumpkin to the National Botanic Gardens, on 19th October 2013 between 10am and 5pm. Pumpkins should only be decorated on the external skin, we will not accept pumpkins which are cut into or carved,...

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Secrets of the Irish Landscape

Secrets of the Irish Landscape

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzPRjy_bAwU   Matthew Jebb and Colin Kelleher of the National Botanic Gardens assisted in the making of ‘Secrets of the Irish Landscape’, a major three part series on RTÉ television, presented by Derek Mooney, which tells the...

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James Joyce in tulips

James Joyce in tulips

Paul Schellekens, Ambassador of the Netherlands, planted the first bulbs together with local school children from Scoil Mobhi primary school, Glasnevin, Dublin and St Michael’s National School in Limerick. Mark Traynor, Director of the James Joyce Centre and the...

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Inauguration of ?What is Life?

Inauguration of ?What is Life?

Minister Brian Hayes was at the National Botanic Gardens for the presentation to the Irish people of a sculpture - ?What is Life? - which celebrates the 60th anniversary of the discovery of the DNA double helix by James D. Watson and Francis Crick in 1953. The...

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The Trees of Great Britain and Ireland

The Trees of Great Britain and Ireland

  The Trees of Great Britain and Ireland by Henry John Elwes and Augustine Henry On the 6th March, during Tree Week 2013, the facsimile of the book was formally launched by Sir Henry Elwes, great-grandson of Henry John...

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The DNA double Helix is 60 today

The DNA double Helix is 60 today

  On the 28th February 1953, Jim Watson and Francis Crick made what was arguably the greatest scientific discovery of the 20th Century. They had an insight into the 3-dimensional structure of DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid). At lunch that day they told the...

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Sheep Eating Plant in bloom

Sheep Eating Plant in bloom

Our 'Sheep-eating Plant' is in bloom. This Chilean plant is a relative of the pineapple. It grows in arid hillsides of the western Andes at altitudes of up to 1,200m. After 14 years of growth One plant is now blooming in the Curvilinear range. The electric-yellow...

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Welcoming the bees back to the Botanic gardens

Welcoming the bees back to the Botanic gardens

  Saturday 14th April - Sunday 15th April Meet the beekeepers at this special weekend event in celebration of the welcome return of bees to the Botanic Gardens. As well as informative talks on the history of beekeeping, there will be an exhibition of live bees in...

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Be Plant Wise Campaign Launches

Be Plant Wise Campaign Launches

  The Be Plant Wise campaign is supported by the National Botanic Gardens, and was launched on Thursday the 8th March, 2012 by Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. The campaign highlights the actions gardeners can take to prevent...

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Name a new Tulip, and win a trip for two to Amsterdam

Name a new Tulip, and win a trip for two to Amsterdam

  Name a Tulip and win a trip for two to Amsterdam. The Get Ready For Spring Tulip Naming Competition The Dutch Embassy is running a competition to name a new cultivar of tulip specially bred by Jan Ligthart in honour of Ireland (right). The winner will have the...

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Irish Plant Scientist’s Association Meeting 2012

Irish Plant Scientist’s Association Meeting 2012

  We are pleased to announce that the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin and the Office of Public Works will be hosting the Irish Plant Scientists' Association Meeting (IPSAM) 2012. The conference will run from 2pm on Tuesday 3rd until after lunch on Thursday...

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Launch of The Praeger Centre

Launch of The Praeger Centre

  The Praeger Centre was launched at the National Botanic Gardens on Saturday morning during a visit by the Dublin Naturalists Field Club (DNFC), along with representatives of the Belfast Naturalists Field Club (BNFC)....

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H.H.Bloomer Award for Brendan Sayers

H.H.Bloomer Award for Brendan Sayers

The H. H. Bloomer Award is given by the Linnean Society of London each year. It was established in 1963 from a legacy by the amateur naturalist Harry Howard Bloomer, and is awarded to an amateur naturalist who has made an important contribution to biological...

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Queen Elizabeth visits Ireland

Queen Elizabeth visits Ireland

On the 18th May, HRH Queen Elizabeth was presented with a bouquet of flowers at Trinity College these comprised plants selected from the collections of the National Botanic Gardens, including Achillea 'Moonshine', Geranium 'Johnson's Blue' and Iris 'Langport Lord', as...

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Schefflera poomae – a new species from Thailand

Schefflera poomae – a new species from Thailand

The Gardens continue to be involved in the forefront of understanding global and national plant biodiversity. Each year about 2000 new species of plant are discovered and named. Last year, Matthew Jebb, along with his colleague Hajo Esser from Munich, described the...

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Abutilon pitcairnense – back from the brink

Abutilon pitcairnense – back from the brink

Noeleen Smyth published an article on Abutilon pitcairnense in Curtis’ Botanical Magazine, which included a portrait painted by botanical artist, Susan Sex (right). This species is teetering on the brink of extinction, but alive and well under the care of our...

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New Director of the National Botanic Gardens

New Director of the National Botanic Gardens

  Matthew Jebb has taken over the directorship of the National Botanic Gardens following the departure of Peter Wyse Jackson. Matthew has been Keeper of the Herbarium and Taxonomist (Ainmneoir Plandai) at the Gardens since 1998. Matthew gained his primary degree...

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Botanic Gardens wins gold for Darwin at Home at Bloom 2009

Botanic Gardens wins gold for Darwin at Home at Bloom 2009

2009 marks a double anniversary for Charles Darwin. Born 200 years ago, on the 12 February 1809 in Shrewsbury, England, his most famous book, The Origin of Species, was published 150 years ago on the 24 November 1859. To mark the occasion we constructed a part of Down...

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Ireland’s Wild Orchids – a field guide

Ireland’s Wild Orchids – a field guide

  Brendan Sayers (Foreman at the National Botanic Gardens) and the award-winning botanical artist Susan Sex, have recently completed their latest Irish Orchid book, a field guide to Ireland's Wild Orchids (cover at right). This richly illustrated book gives...

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Wollemi Pine cones at Glasnevin

Wollemi Pine cones at Glasnevin

One of the world's oldest and rarest trees, the Wollemi pine (Wollemia nobilis) has begun to produce male cones at the Gardens (right). Only discovered in 1994 in Australia this extraordinary tree has a fossil record stretching back 90 million years. A member of the...

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Mauge’s shelled slug

Mauge’s shelled slug

This burrowing slug, which grows up to 4 inches in length (6-12 cm) was discovered in the National Botanic Gardens Car Park in Septmeber 2008 by Slug expert Gery Holyoak. It was last seen in Ireland in 1931, and before that in 1892. They are rarely seen because they...

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Birds of Ireland: Facts, Folklore & History

Birds of Ireland: Facts, Folklore & History

Glynn Anderson, Guide & Information Officer at the National Botanic Gardens, has just published this book with The Collins Press. Lavishly illustrated and beautifully designed, the book is truly chomh breabhsánta le glasóg being packed with delightful vignettes of...

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Jade Vine flowers for the first time at Glasnevin

Jade Vine flowers for the first time at Glasnevin

The Jade Vine (Strongylodon macrobotrys) is a native of the tropical forests of the Philippines. Its flowers are a luminous turquoise in color, and hang in bunches up to a metre in length. Each clawlike flower is about 8 cm long (right). In its native Philippines it...

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National Botanic Gardens Medal

National Botanic Gardens Medal

The National Botanic Gardens established a gold medal in 2007. The medal will be awarded, on an irregular basis, to those members of the Irish botanical community who have made a significant contribution to Irish Botany. Maura Scannell reminds everyone of the...

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Royal Botanic Gardens of Jordan

Royal Botanic Gardens of Jordan

A team from the National Botanic Gardens has recently returned from an 11 day trip to the Royal Botanic Gardens of Jordan. The purpose of the visit was to give assistance with planning at the gardens, and developing a long-term research strategy for vegetation...

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Grace Pasley R.I.P. (1956-2007)

Grace Pasley R.I.P. (1956-2007)

Grace Pasley has been the herbarium assistant and official photographer at the National Botanic Gardens for over 30 years. Grace was wonderful in many ways and well deserved her 'Amazing Grace' nickname. Her generosity and joie de vivre was known to many at the...

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