Heritage Irish Plants – Plandai Oidhreachta is a collaborative project between the Irish Society of Botanical Artists and the Irish Garden Plant Society which will lead to an exhibition of the works of the artists and the publication of a soft-back book using the paintings to illustrate a collection of articles. The introduction will be by Dr. E. Charles Nelson, formerly the taxonomist at the National Botanical Gardens, Glasnevin, founder of the IGPS and author of A Heritage of Beauty the reference book on plants of Irish origin and connection. The coming book, which is being published with the financial support of An Bord Bia, will be available to order in late spring/early summer for a pre-publication price of €25.
When there are over seventy artists and near a dozen contributors working on the project and when these are spread not only around the country but also abroad news of progress comes along in dribs and drabs – but it is always far from drab. Each new report, perhaps a photograph sent to show progress on a painting or a draft of an article, brings new excitement as each is another step along the way to what, I believe, will be one of the most beautiful and significant exhibitions in Irish botanical art and Irish horticulture.
Jane Stark, a founder member of the Irish Society of Botanical Artists and one of the contributing artists, has had an accomplished career as a graphic designer and, along with preparing the material for the book and designing its layout, has also designed the promotional material for the project which we will circulate to invite pre-publication subscriptions.
By coincidence, The International Rock Gardener (ISSN 2053-7557), the online journal of the Scottish Rock Garden Club has published a description of Galanthus ‘Longraigue’, one of the snowdrops included among the paintings and has used a preliminary study by one of the artists, Shevaun Doherty, as an illustration.
The story of the origins of the snowdrop is told by Alan Briggs and is reproduced here with the kind permission of the Scottish Rock Garden Club.
“Longraigue‟ – a new Irish snowdrop described by Alan Briggs, photographs by Paddy Tobin.
At the end of 2001 my wife and I were invited to spend the New Year with friends at their home in Co. Wexford, Ireland. Our room was decorated with a vase of flowers containing a sprig of witch hazel and some snowdrops. At that time I was just becoming interested in snowdrops and I was impressed to see them already in flower at the end of December. I found a scattering of these early snowdrops growing in a bed by the front of the house. I admired them and my friend, Carol Gibbon, immediately dug up a few bulbs for me. Back in England they did well, although flowering a little later in the first week or two of January. After a few years I had enough to repatriate some to Irish snowdrop enthusiast Paddy Tobin. They prospered for Paddy whilst mine suffered a setback, so he now has far more than I do. We both think this attractive snowdrop is worthy of a name and I have chosen “Longraigue‟, which is the name of the house where they originated.
“Longraigue‟ is an early-flowering example of Galanthus plicatus. The inner petals have a mark which I feel, fancifully, resembles an oil lamp. This comprises a green u-shaped mark at the apex joined to an oval shape in the basal half of the petal which has a lighter part at the centre. The receptacle (“ovary‟) is olive green and slightly elongated; the pedicel is short. The plicate leaves are glaucous green and around 12cm long at the time of flowering, when the scapes are about 16cm. This snowdrop is already gaining admirers in Ireland and would be a welcome addition to any collection.
A previous report on this project can be read here: Heritage Irish Plants – Plandaí Oidhreachta