The New York Botanical Gardens

The  New York Botanical Gardens are celebrating their 125th anniversary and this book from Gregory Long, who has been president and chief executive of the gardens since 1989, outlines the history and development of the gardens using hundreds of excellent photographs, beautiful reproductions of rare botanical art and a text which is so informative and which flows with such ease and enthusiasm that it might well tempt me to visit New York, something the Statue of Liberty, Times Square nor Macey’s could never do.

The world’s first botanical garden was established in Pisa in 1544; Padua followed in 1545; Oxford in 1621 and Chelsea in 1673. King George III’s private garden at Kew later became the Royal Botanical Gardens of Kew in 1840 and the work of such as Banks and Hooker fired an enthusiasm for such establishments around the world.

In 1891 Julian Hawthorne declared, “Americas is, I believe, the only country of consequence that does not possess an important botanical collection. . . . Surely the time is over-ripe for the foundation of such a collection as shall eclipse Kew itself and serve henceforth as a model to the world. . . . Here is an opportunity evidently vouchsafed by Providence in the nick of time” (Lippincotts Magazine, January 1891).

New York Botanical Gardens

In the summer of 1888, two New Yorkers, Nathaniel Lord Britton and his new bride Elizabeth Knight Britton visited London and, so impressed were they with the Botanical Gardens at Kew that they returned to New York and began promoting the idea of such an establishment for New York. This movement gathered support and momentum and in 1891 the legislative of the State of New York set aside 250 acres of land in the north of the city “for the collection and culture of plants, flowers, shrubs and trees, the advancement of botanical science and knowledge and for the entertainment, recreation and instruction of the people.”

Education has remained paramount to the gardens since their foundation; tens of thousands of schoolchildren visit each year; hundreds of students have received the PhDs here and as many as 2,000 scientific expeditions have been organised over the past 125 years.

The gardens are nowadays very simply described as “an urban oasis” but it is an oasis of amazing interest, beauty and magnificence and this book certainly “sells” it very well. Let me whet your appetite with some snippets  – for the book as much as for the gardens because reading and enjoying this book might be the next best thing to an actual visit and will certainly make the reader wish that fortune would shine down and grant the pleasure of a visit there.

There are display gardens, trial grounds, demonstration gardens, vegetable gardens, a native plant garden, hydrangea and paeonia collections. Daffodil Hill and Daffodil Valley were planted with 100,000 daffodils in 1920; these have naturalised in the meantime and 1,000,000 bulbs will be added to mark the 125th anniversary. The 2.5 acre rock garden with its historic cascade was restored in 2014 and it simply fabulous. The Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden which was originally designed in 1916 and completed in 1988 has thousands of roses and was given the Award of Garden Excellence from the World Federation of Rose Societies.

The Conservatory, inspired by that at Kew, is one of the most significant historical glass structures in the world and recreates conditions for plants of the rain forest, dry desert, cloud forest while the Palm House accommodates plants from the lowland tropical rainforest, aquatic plants and vines, upland tropical rain forest (with a collection of 8,000 orchids!), deserts of America and Africa as well as other special collections.

Oh, I could go on and on – special exhibitions, feature seasonal events, innumerable special collections, art in the garden, 50 acres in the valley of the Bronx River as a natural woodland, notable architecture, the library, the herbarium with 7.4 million specimens, of which 2.5 million may be viewed online.

It goes on and on, ever more impressive and ever more enjoyable. I may not get to visit but I have certainly enjoyed the experience through Gregory Long’s writing.  I suggest you can do likewise!


[The New York Botanical Gardens, Gregory Long & Todd A. Forrest, Abrams, New York, 2016, HB, 248 pages, $50, ISBN: 0-8109-5744-2]

Paddy Tobin

To find out more about the Irish Garden Plant Society visit our website or follow us on Facebook




A Display of Gems

Each year in April the Dublin branch of the Alpine Garden Society holds its show at the Cabinteely Community College and it is an opportunity to view the most beautiful plant gems imaginable and, of course, an opportunity to meet some of the people who are gems of the gardening world.

A visit to the dentist before leaving Waterford had us decided to avoid a restaurant and we had a light lunch with coffee from the flask in the carpark. The society members had been inside much earlier to stage their displays and for the judges to appraise them. While we ate we observed members arriving with plants for the members’ plant sale – quite a feature of the event and an opportunity to acquire some very nice plants. We watched one member, one we know well, as he practically wore a path from car to hall with his deliveries and we also could see the earlybirds forming a queue for the 1.30 opening.

The Members’ Plant Sale area is the first encountered on entering the hall and is always a source of good plants – at a good price.

Once indoors we headed for the members’ plant sales where Mary added some of Harold McBride’s “Waverley Seedling”s to her collection of Primula auricula. We don’t know what colour the flowers will be but Harold always has good plants so it is worth the chance and there is the excitement of the wait to see what we have bought and it is nice to have a plant raised by a friend.

Once into the main hall I was greeted by the plant of my dreams – there is always a plant we dream of and would wish to have. There are several reasons I long for this plant – this one is Trillium chloropetalum ‘Bob Gordon’. Some years back, Bob gave Billy Moore some seedlings of Trillium chloropetalum from his garden. Billy grew them on to flowing size and found he had some with yellow flowers – T. chloropetalum is usually a rich bungundy – so he knew he had something special. He grew it on before showing it at an AGS show in Belfast where the members of the Joint Rock Committee  commended it highly and suggested it deserved a cultivar name – a recognition of its worth. Billy, of course, named it after Bob Gordon who had given him the seedlings.

Trillium chloropetalum 'Bob Gordon' - grown by Billy Moore  (2)
Trillium chloropetalum ‘Bob Gordon’ which was raised by Billy Moore from seedlings from Bob Gordon’s garden. 
Trillium chloropetalum 'Bob Gordon' - grown by Billy Moore  (9)
Trillium chloropetalum ‘Bob Gordon’
Trillium chloropetalum 'Bob Gordon' - grown by Billy Moore  (4)
Trillium chloropetalum ‘Bob Gordon’

Quite simple, this is a fabulous plant, with a distinct colour for a Trillium – even T. luteum is not as good a yellow as this. It is also one which would make an excellent garden plant – while I admire greatly the many plants the AGS members display I realise that many would not make good garden plants but would require pot culture and a level of care and attention which would be more that I would wish to give. Trillium chloropetalum, on the other hand, is an easy and excellent garden plant – seedlings from Bob’s garden have simply romped along in our garden – and I am especially delighted that Billy has put Bob’s name to such an outstanding plant.

Further along the same bench was a much smaller plant which stopped every visitor in his/her tracks. Paddy Smith has shown Gentiana ligustica at previous shows over previous years and it has continued to improve and to impress even more with each showing. The blue of gentians has something magical about it and invariably catches the eye and the admiration of viewers. Paddy has grown this specimen to a very high standard so that his display represents not only a beautiful plant but an example of the wonderful skill of the grower.

Gentiana ligustica - grown by Paddy Smith. First Prize (5)
Gentiana ligustica grown to perfection by Paddy Smith

It is plants, such as the above, which make the AGS shows so wonderful. There is a purity here – thoughts of garden design, plant combinations, colour coordination and those many other considerations of the garden maker can be put aside – and the visitor can focus purely on the beauty of the individual plants and this is a pure joy.

Moving from plant to plant and from bench to bench is a slow process and this is as it should be so that there is time to admire at length the beauty which is presented and the skills which brought them to us. This slow  movement is guaranteed by meeting so many people, great gardeners and great friends, some of whom we meet only once a year, and who are as much an attraction as the plants on the benches so the pleasure of visiting the Cabinteely show is on many levels and a rich and wonderful experience.

Some photographs from the show to give you a flavour of the occasion: 








Paddy Tobin

To find out more about the Irish Garden Plant Society visit our website or follow us on Facebook

Pay Me in Tulips!

The mass planting of tulips and wallflowers set off the tearooms perfectly

Tulips are the new currency it would seem! So, Frances McDonald explained to us this morning when we visited her in her garden, The Bay, just north of Ferns in Co. Wexford. Over the past weeks I had seen mention of Frances and Iain’s Tulip Extravaganza at the garden but only yesterday spotted that Frances was bringing a group around the garden this morning so I jumped at the opportunity immediately – it is always so much more interesting to walk a garden with the gardener and gain the many insights which would otherwise go unnoticed.

An informal planting in the garden


There was a group of about 15 – enough and not too many – so that everybody was within earshot and able to participate with ease. Frances welcomed us and explained the background to this Tulip Extravaganza and the use of tulips as currency – very in line with the days of tulipmania in Holland! Frances has done some work for Mr. Middleton Garden Shop – a supplier of bulbs, plants etc – and asked to be paid in tulips rather than in cash. It appears that Mr. Middleton paid very generously as several thousand tulips were delivered to The Bay.

A welcoming doorway with tulips in pots 
Simple, elegant and effective! 

I imagine that delight was soon tempered with fatigue as Iain and Frances set about planting all these bulbs. The quickly found that introducing tulips in large numbers to a very densely planted garden was a huge challenge. Obviously, they didn’t wish to do damage to the existing plants in the garden but also wished to plant in sufficient density to produce a good effect.

The vegetable beds put to a colourful seasonal use with dense plantings of tulips 

Some of Iain’s vegetable beds, immediately inside the front gate, were commandeered for tulip planting, as were the beds which surround the patio of the teahouse, and these gave an impressive greeting on entering the gardens. Tulips need great numbers and density of planting for best effect and there was perfect opportunity to plant in this style here. The effect is dramatic, colourful, and produced the best display in the garden.

A display in pots on the patio to the rear of the house 
Pots provide wonderful impact 

Frances confirmed that the traditional practice of planting tulips in pots or window boxes for early summer display is certainly a most effective method though she added the proviso that while one might plan to use two or three packets of bulbs per pot she found it better to use five! “Plant them cheek by jowl” was her advice and the pots on display showed the wisdom of such practice.

Reflections in the formal pool 

In all Frances and Iain have planted over 100 different tulip varieties and the display will continue for quite some time to come with early varieties in flower at present while later ones have yet to come.

Mark it in your diary: Open Day: 2pm – 5pm

Sat 16 and Sun 17 April

Sat 23 and Sun 24 April

Sat 30 April and Sun 1 and Mon 2 May

Sat 14 and Sun 15 May

See or The Bay Garden on Facebook


Paddy Tobin

To find out more about the Irish Garden Plant Society visit our website or follow us on Facebook


Molly at Mount Congreve

A walk of the gardens at Mount Congreve with Michael White, the Garden Curator, always brings out great stories and connections. Michael walks at a gallop and talks at a gallop because he has much to do and his head is so full of information that it seems to simply burst from him. I recall asking him the name of an attractive rhododendron on one occasion and while I was given the name I was also given its parentage and its grand-parentage and the names of all the people and gardens who had been involved in the background of the plants along with the dates of each generation along its breeding and when it was introduced to the gardens at Mount Congreve, where it had come from, and when it first flowered. Yes, a walk with Michael leaves my old legs tired and my old brain somewhat frazzled but I wish I could have such a walk every day of the week as each one reveals another layer of Mount Congreve Gardens and there are few places I would rather be.

Rhododendron montroseanum  - named for Duchess of Montrose, Mary Louise = Molly(11)
Molly’s Walk with Rhododendron montroseanum in full flower 

Rhododendron montroseanum  - named for Duchess of Montrose, Mary Louise = Molly(5)Rhododendron montroseanum x  macabeanum  (2)

Molly’s Walk is at the far side of the garden, a quieter end, and few garden visitors walk so far. Earlier in the week Michael insisted we had to come with him to see the stand of Rhododendron montroseanum which grows there as he reckoned he had never seen it flowering so well. This was a result, he speculated, of the extra light allowed into this area when sheltering trees were blown down in the storms of early 2014. I had visited Molly’s Walk at this time last year and felt the rhododendrons had looked wonderful but they were certainly significantly better this year with all shrubs fully clothed in their beautiful blooms. It was a great display and worth the walk/gallop.

Rhododendron montroseanum is a large shrub with a height and spread at present in Mount Congreve of about four metres. The leaves are long and stiff, a deep glossy green and have a whitish indumentum on the back while the inflorescence is a rounded collection of individual flowers which are pale pink with a crimson/purplish blotch in the throat. Planted in a large group, as they are at Mount Congreve, they make an impressive display.

Rhododendron montroseanum  - named for Duchess of Montrose, Mary Louise = Molly(7)
Rhododendron montroseanum with its pinkish flowers and deep crimson blotch in the throat 

This rhododendron seems to occur in the wild only in the Tsangpo Gorge in Tibet. This gorge, by the way, is regarded as the deepest in the world and at 504km is longer that the Grand Canyon in the USA. The plant collector Frank Kingdon-Ward collected seed there and a specimen raised from this seed was cultivated at Brodick Castle on the Isle of Arran in Scotland. Brodick is an impressive red sandstone castle with sections dating to the thirteenth century and was the property of the Dukes of Hamilton and was passed from the 12th Duke to his daughter, Lady Mary Louise Douglas-Hamilton (1878 – 1957), who later became the Duchess of Montrose. The gardens at Brodick were started in the 1920 by Lady Mary Louise who was an enthusiastic gardener and collector and passed to the government on her death in lieu of death taxes and are now in the hands of the National Trust for Scotland, an estate of 7,000 acres with gardens of 65. Lady Mary Louise’s name to her family members and friends was “Molly” and the newly introduced rhododendron was initially named Rhododendron mollyanum but later Rhododendron montroseanum.

Rhododendron montroseanum  - named for Duchess of Montrose, Mary Louise = Molly(8)

So, this planting and this walk, Molly’s Walk, in Mount Congreve remembers a wonderful lady – wonderful not alone because of the gardening heritage she passed to the state but also for the great deal of charitable work in which she was involved. One commentator remarked that one was likely to meet her one day making tea and toast to share with an alcoholic and the next entertaining royalty.  Her garden lives on at Brodick and her plants here in Waterford. Ambrose Congreve named it well.

Rhododendron montroseanum  - named for Duchess of Montrose, Mary Louise = Molly(10)
Rhododendron montroseanum with the flowers fading to a lighter pink/white

Paddy Tobin

To find out more about the Irish Garden Plant Society visit our website or follow us on Facebook

Mount Congreve’s Magnificent Magnolias

Mount Congreve Gardens must be one of the very best places in the world to see magnolias. There are three spectacular plantings of magnolias in the garden: the first and original planting was on the terrace below the house where we can see Magnolia campbellii, Magnolia veitchii and Magnolia sprengeri var diva among others, all now mature and impressive trees. This planting is best viewed from an elevated spot near The Temple where one can look along the top of the canopy of this planting and see magnificent planting one could not encounter anywhere else in the world.

Magnolia campbellii  (5)
The view over the canopy of the magnificent planting of Magnolia campbellii (in the main) on the terraces under the house.

Seed from the specimens of Magnolia campbellii growing in this area were collected and propagated in the early 1960s and later planted on the terraces near the waterfall, an area below The Temple which features an impressive planting of hundreds of hydrangeas in late summer. Approximately 80 seedling Magnolia campbellii seedlings were planted here along with 70+ Rhododendron macabeanum.  Mr. Congreve always planted for impact and single specimen trees or plants are rare in the garden – planting was always in big numbers. These are mature trees now, approaching 20 metres in height, and are very impressive.

Magnolia campbellii on terraces
The terraces which were constructed for the mass planting of Magnolia campbellii seedlings which were raised in the gardens in the 1960s. This planting extends for another 100 metres along this pathway. The underplanting on the left is of Astilbes.

The Magnolia Walk, a straight walk downhill of approximately 150 metres with a view to the River Suir and beyond to County Kilkenny, is lined on both sides with Magnolia soulangeana backed by the taller Magnolia campbellii and Magnolia sargentiana var. robusta. The grass verges are planted with Frittilaria meleagris, the Snakeshead Frittilary, and Primula veris, the cowslip. To say this planting is impressive is a woefully inadequate description – it is fabulous, fantastic, unprecedented, unique and quite simply extraordinary.

Magnolia walk  (6)
The Magnolia Walk looking towards the River Suir and across to County Kilkenny
Magnolia walk  (1)
The Magnolia Walk with the viewing seat at the top.

Apart from these mass plantings there are also some especially beautiful individual magnolias in the garden which deserve a visit and closer viewing. Magnolia ‘John Congreve’ is the most accessible and obvious as it stand proudly on the Bell Gate Lawn, the exit from the Pleasure Garden to the Woodland Garden. It is named for Ambrose Congreve’s father and was bought from Hillier’s as Magnolia sargentiana var. robusta but quickly showed itself to be something quite different and distinctive and is regarded as an exceptional form of Magnolia sprengeri var. diva. There was some concern over the last few years for the health of this plant, that the area around the base was becoming compacted and possible damage to roots near the surface because of grass cutting but it is performing fabulously this year and is a sight to behold.

Magnolia 'John Congreve' with Michael White'  (2)
Magnolia ‘John Congreve’ with Garden Curator, Michael White.
Magnolia 'John Congreve' (2)
Magnolia ‘John Congreve’

A relatively new planting on the Bell Gate lawn is Magnolia campbellii ‘Betty Jessel’ which was planted only last year to replace an ailing Magnolia sargentiana var. robusta. It is already a four to five metre high tree and is flowering prolifically at present and the blossoms are spectacularly beautiful and show the perfect “cup and saucer” flowers of Magnolia campbellii.

Magnolia campbelli 'Betty Jessel'  (5)
Magnolia campbellii ‘Betty Jessel’ displaying the cup and saucer habit of M. campbellii flowers

There are two other magnolias bearing the Congreve name in the garden: Magnolia ‘Lady Irene Congreve’ and I presume this refers to Mr. Ambrose Congreve’s mother, Lady Helena Blanche Irene Ponsonby, daughter of Edward Ponsonby, 8th Earl of Bessborough.  The other is Magnolia ‘Ambrose Congreve’ the creator of these magnificent gardens at Mount Congreve.

Magnolia 'Lady Irene Congreve'  (2)
Magnolia ‘Lady Irene Congreve’ flowering high into the woodland canopy
Magnolia 'Irene Congreve'  (2)
Magnolia ‘Lady Irene Congreve’
Magnolia 'Anne Congreve'  (1)
Magnolia ‘Ambrose Congreve’ – no flower was low enough to get a close-up picture but, even at a distance, the beauty of the flower is obvious.

At the lower end of the Magnolia Walk there are two outstanding specimens, both forms of Magnolia sargentiana var. robusta.  These have more petals than normal and they are these are held in an open manner which gives a great colour cover to the tree so that each would make a strong impact in the garden. One has flowers which are very lightly coloured while the other is darker. At present, they are unnamed but I feel they certainly deserve to have a name attached. They are, I suppose, indicative of the many, many treasures at Mount Congreve Gardens, a garden which itself is a treasure beyond compare among the gardens of the world. I am very fortunate that it is only minutes from my home and that I am able to visit regularly. You must make time to come and visit also!

Magnolia sargentii var. robusta - multipetala light coloured form - bottom left of Magnolia Walk  (10)
Magnolia sargentiana var robusta = the light form with multipetals
Magnolia sargentii var. robusta - multipetala light coloured form - bottom left of Magnolia Walk  (1)
Magnolia sargentiana var robusta – the light form with multipetals
Magnolia sargentii var. robusta - multipetala dark coloured form - bottom left of Magnolia Walk  (2)
Magnolia campbellii var robusta – the light form with multipetals

Paddy Tobin

To find out more about the Irish Garden Plant Society visit our website or follow us on Facebook


Rainy Days are Reading Days!

It is the first of April, the weather is dreadful but it has provided an opportunity to catch up on book reviews. There is always a queue of books to be read and often it is more pleasant to read the next one that write about the previous. This must be one of the busy publishing times of the year as a number of new titles have arrived in the post this week – enough to prompt me to clear some from the stack by the fireside to make room for the new arrivals.

This present batch is a diverse one so likely to have something to appeal to everybody. Owen Johnston’s “Arboretum” is written by a man who loves trees and presents his research in a most enjoyable manner; Thomas Rainer and Claudia West’s  “Planting in a Post-Wild World” has been taking the American gardening world by storm with its suggested approach to planting; Ken Druse has written another classic with “The New Shade Garden”; Paul Dickey and Marion Brenner present a marvellous selection of “Outstanding American Gardens” while Linda Chalker-Scott tells us “How Plants Work” in an entertaining and informative manner. There is much to enjoy and I hope you do enjoy some of them.

Arboretum cover image

Arboretum: When 35 years of intense interest and study is condensed into a book it is sure to contain a depth and breadth of material rarely encountered elsewhere and when it is written in a style that is both entertaining as well as informative it cannot but be recommended – especially at this time of year when we celebrate our annual Tree Week. Dr. Owen Johnston’s interest in trees, begun at the age of 13, has continued unabated ever since. Over these years he has researched and recorded more than 80,000 specimen trees; is presently Registrar to The Tree Register maintaining the definitive database of exceptional trees in Britain and has previously published The Collins Tree Guide and Champion Trees of Britain and Ireland. It strikes me that the greatest achievement of this book is that it makes an enormous volume of information accessible in a manner which is very enjoyable for the reader. Trees are impressive, the largest plants of our gardens, landmarks on our landscape, with longevity which diminishes our short span and it is a joy to share Owen Johnston’s love of them.  A book I recommend highly.

Arboretum – A History of the Trees grown in Britain and Ireland, Dr. Owen Johnston, Whittet Books, Stanstead, 2015, HB, 480 pages, £40,ISBN 978 1 873580 97 4.

SPECIAL OFFER AVAILABLE to IGPS Members(or readers here, I suppose!): Purchase on   Enter “IGPS” in the voucher box at Checkout to get 20% discount off the retail price.


Planting in a Post wild World

Planting in a Post-Wild World by Thomas Rainer and Claudia West proposes a major change to the way we select and develop our gardens, that we should seek to imitate how plants grow in the wild – all together in resilient plant communities which grow together rather than a collection of individuals; that plants be valued for their performance and adaptability and be chosen because they fit together in their growing requirements and so provide us with care-free gardens which imitate nature. They begin from the premise that we all love and long for natural planting yet our gardening activity very often is epitomised by a constant fight against this very nature. The approach is very similar to that of Piet Oudolf and Nigel Dunnett and, while I have admired these gardens in certain locations – the High Line and around the Olympic grounds in London, for example – I don’t feel any immediate longing to apply these suggestions in my own garden. Because of this, I found the book interesting but without relevance to my own gardening. It may well appeal to those engaged in landscape design in public spaces. The American Horticultural Society recently announced its book awards for 2016 and this was among those chosen for award so it has come highly recommended.

Planting in a Post-Wild World, Thomas Rainer and Claudia West, Timber Press, Portland, Oregon, HB, 270 pages, £20, ISBN: 978-10-60469-553-3


the new shade gardens

Very often it is only as one’s garden ages that the necessity of dealing with shade becomes an issue. The trees which were so small when planted can create planting conditions we had not anticipated. We can view these changes as a problem or as an opportunity but we certainly cannot ignore them and expect the sun-loving plants which we first planted to continue to perform in the new conditions. Ken Druse has a range of excellent books to his credit and he continues with this latest. He gives a comprehensive guide to creating a shade garden dealing with all aspects of the process from design, soil preparation, tree selection and pruning and, most enjoyably, the vast array of flowers which grow best in shade. While aimed primarily at American gardeners it will be of great interest and relevance to Irish gardeners also. The illustrations are excellent and the writing perfectly enjoyable. A good one – as always from Ken Druse!

The New Shade Garden, Ken Druse,  Abrams & Chronicle Books, London, 2015, HB, 255 pages, £25, ISBN: 9781617691041


outstanding american gardens

In the United States, The Garden Conservancy marked its 25th anniversary with this wonderful publication, Outstanding American Gardens: A Celebration. 25 Years of the Garden Concervancy The Conservancy was founded in 1989 and has over 3,000 private gardens across the country that have opened to the public through its “Open Days Program.” This book presents eight gardens that the conservancy has helped preserve and another 43 private gardens that are part of the programme.  It is a book of beauty and delight and amazing diversity and, given the geographical spread of the gardens over many climatic regions and the fact that they are presented in various seasons, it presents a fabulous selection of designs, plant selections and utter beauty for us to enjoy. The general layout might be compared to that of a magazine as gardens are presented through excellent and large size photographs while the text rarely extends to more than a page. It is sufficient to give us a very pleasant and enjoyable peep into a wide selection of gardens, gardening styles and plant selections. I found it thoroughly enjoyable which was best read a little at a time.

Outstanding American Gardens: A Celebration 25 Years of the Garden Conservancy, Page Dickey and Marion Brenner, Abrams & Chronicle, London, 2015, HB, 270 pages, £30, ISBN: 9781617691652


how plants work

Some knowledge of what influences how our plants grow is certainly going to be a benefit to any gardener. We, generally, pick up snippets here and there – magazine articles, our own experience and the experience of other gardener, for example – but it is worthwhile reading some material which is more authoritative and comprehensive. Linda Chalker-Scott has a background in horticulture and is a certified arborist, as well as other experience and qualifications which qualify her as someone we can safely listen to. She has both the academic background and the practical experience we would hope to see in somebody writing a book on How Plants Work – The science behind the amazing things plants do. A book promising to introduce the reader to the science of their hobby might be a little off-putting but all is presented in a light, enjoyable, readable, accessible and enjoyable manner that it is interesting from beginning to end.

How Plants Work – The science behind the amazing things plants do, Linda Chalker-Scott, Timber Press, Portland/London, 2015, Softback, 235pages, £15, ISBN: 978-1-60469-338-6


Paddy Tobin

To find out more about the Irish Garden Plant Society visit our website or follow us on Facebook