A Treasure Shared – Dahlia ‘Matt Armour’

For a gardener a plant is the perfect memento. We visited Glenveagh Castle Gardens in May of this year where we held our Annual General Meeting and enjoyed guided walks of the garden afterwards.

Dahlia 'Matt Armour'
Dahlia ‘Matt Armour’

There are two plants which are particularly associated with the gardens at Glenveagh. One is “Rhododendron ‘Mulroy Vanguard’ which was raised at Mulroy House in the garden of Lady Anne Leitrim around 1960 and planted at Glenveagh.” The second is Dahlia ‘Matt Armour’ and, once again, I will quote from the Head Gardener at Glenveagh, Seán O Gaoithin, from the article he wrote for the journal of the Irish Garden Plant Society, Moorea, Volume 16:

“The conservation of the Glenveagh raised Dahlia ‘Matt Armour’ is a major consideration for the garden staff. This unique clone was first raised from seed given to young under-gardener Matt Armour in 1930 by Lucy Porter. The variety has been in cultivation in the walled garden ever since. A stock of 100 plants is maintained; the tubers over-wintered in storage and planted out in the walled garden in May. The cultivar name Dahlia ‘Matt Armour’ was registered with the RHS in 1996 by Seán O Gaoithin (head gardener sice 1995). The first published description of the cultivar appeared in The Irish Garden magazine in 1996. A botanical portrait by Wendy Walsh was commissioned by the OPW(Office of Public Works) in 1996 and published in “A Lifetime of Painting”, a book celebrating her life’s work in 2007. Currently we are in the process of raining 500 clones of Dahlia ‘Matt Armour’ that are virus-free  material by micro-propagation with the aid of the Department of Agricultures’s Potato Research Station at Raphoe, Co. Donegal.”

Dahlia 'Matt Armour'
Dahlia ‘Matt Armour’

On the occasion of our visit to Glenveagh in May, Seán very kindly had a young plant of Dahlia ‘Matt Armour’ for each person in our group and I am sure each of these plants went to a very appreciative home and will be treasured for many years to come.

I had an e-mail from Victor and Roz Henry last week with an attached photograph of their Dahlia ‘Matt Armour’ in flower; the first reported flowering. Well done to Victor and Roz for in their success with this plant. It is wonderful to see our Irish heritage plants being so well cared for in the hands of our members.

Well done, Victor and Roz!

Dahlia 'Matt Armour'
Dahlia ‘Matt Armour’

Paddy Tobin

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

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