The Magician and the Glasnevin Potato Vine – Botanic Gardens Dublin May 2012

by Ciaran Burke
DEUTZIA PURPURASCENS 'ALPINE MAGICIAN'

DEUTZIA PURPURASCENS ‘ALPINE MAGICIAN’

It should be warm, warmer than today. I am not under any illusion, I do not expect the sun to shine every day, this is Ireland, but this is May, it should not be freezing!

I met a group of my students this morning in the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin Dublin, one of our monthly meetings. The sky stayed grey all day and the temperatures remained low. It was sort of surreal to see the beautiful tree peony Paeonia rockii ‘He Ping Lian’ in bloom with its heady scent, but to be freezing cold. Despite the less than comfortable weather we brazed the elements, a bunch of hardy perennials that we are and enjoyed some of the beauty that the botanic gardens always has to share. The copper beach, the floriferous Deutzia and Weigela shrubs, the dainty white bracts of the handkercief tree, Davidia involucrata, all beautiful.

Two of Glasnevin’s own gems were looking particularly fine in the cold; Solanum crispum ‘Glasnevin’ and Deutzia purpurascens ‘Alpine Magician’. The former is the better j=known plant, a scranbling shrub best when trained to support against a wall, at the side of the visitor centre it covers a large portion of red brick wall. It is the best selection of the species, a relative to the spud which is Solanum tuberosum. Native of South America. The ‘Glasnevin’ cultivar is hardier than the species and much more floriferous. It is a vigorous large growing plant that will flower throughout the summer.

SOLANUM CRISPUM 'GLASNEVIN'

SOLANUM CRISPUM ‘GLASNEVIN’

SOLANUM CRISPUM 'GLASNEVIN'

SOLANUM CRISPUM ‘GLASNEVIN’

Deutzia purpurascens ‘Alpine Magician’ was named by Charles Nelson who was botanist at the gardens while I was a student there. It was named by him in reference and reverence to Reginald Farrer the great plant hunter and alpine gardener. This particular plant was grown from seed that was collected by farrer in Burma. It is a graceful shrub about 2 metres high and covered in clusters of pink tinged white flowers with red centres. A hardy and floriferous deciduous shrub that is seldom seen in garden centres and nurseries, which is ashame. Luckily there is a fine specimen growing in the woodland garden at Glasnevin for everyone to admire.

There were many beautiful sights to admire in the gardens, I took some photos with my phone and here they are for you to enjoy too…

www.thegardenschool.ie

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