The Garden Pages: The Emerald Isle, Irish flora and lore

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You can't have a gardening website without a little something about Ireland can you?

Ireland's Climate and Plants

Ireland's emerald green hills are a result of mild winters and wet summers.  Ireland's vegetation is made up of three major habitats: Grassland, Heath and Bog.  In addition, many woodland plants have escaped the woods to bloom in open meadows.

One of Ireland's most famous botanical sites is the Burren in County Clare. Among the extraordinary features of this area is the combination of alpine plants growing side by side with Mediterranean species.

This is explained by the unique combination of cool, wet summers, which enables the alpines, which cannot tolerate summer drought, to survive; and the mild winters, which allow the frost-sensitive Mediterranean species to survive.

Irish monasteries and castle gardens typically included plants for cooking and healing.  Some common flowers grown among the castle walls include roses, geraniums, blue cornflowers, yellow pot marigold and love-in-a-mist.


Care and Growing of
Shamrock Plants

green and varigated shamrock photoAll shamrocks are considered lucky and are worn and given as gifts on St. Patrick's Day. 

Several different plants are sold as Shamrocks. 

There is some disagreement as to the exact plant, but most Irish growers will tell you Trifolium repens, or white clover are most commonly known as shamrocks.

White Clover

Trifolium repens, or white clover are perennial plants, growing about 4 inches high.  Trifolium take full sun to part shade and like average water.  They spread by rooting stems and can be used as a ground cover.  White clover get white puff-ball shaped flowers in early spring and generally have three leaves.  Indoors they like sun or bright light and should be kept slightly moist.  In a 4 inch pot, they will probably need weekly watering.

Wood Sorrel

Oxalis acetosella, or wood sorrel is another plant called shamrock.  Oxalis is a perennial plant that grows about 5 inches high.  They spreads easily by rhizomes and can become invasive. These shamrocks like part shade and moist, woodland conditions.  Oxalis is commonly called clover and has white, five petaled  flowers sometimes tinted with purple or pink.  Oxalis is usually three-leaved. Indoors they like bright, indirect sunlight and somewhat damp soil.

Protective Three Leaved Clovers

Three leaved clovers are worn as protective amulets.  They were used by St. Patrick to demonstrate the concept of the Holy Trinity while converting the Druids to Christianity.

Lucky Four Leaved Clovers

Four leaved clovers are considered lucky and protective.  They are said to help the wearer find treasure.


Some Irish botanists say the Irish Shamrock only exists on St. Patrick's Day.





Ireland's Native National Tree:
Sessile Oak (Quercus petraea)

Ireland's National Flower:
Shamrock (Trefoil)


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The Emerald Isle

Climate and Plants
Growing Shamrocks
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Irish Time Backwards Numbers Clock
Irish Time Backwards Numbers Clock


Irish Shamrocks Nature Photo Blank Note Card
Irish Shamrocks Nature Photo Blank Note Card




The Save Tara Campaign

Help Save Ireland's Flora, Fauna and Ancestry

SaveTara.com
Tara (Teamhair) in Co. Meath, Ireland, was the ancient inauguration site of the early Irish Kings. It is connected from earliest times across the Gabhra valley with its sister, the Hill of Skryne. It is through this same valley that the Irish Government now plans to build a motorway with a huge interchange at the foot of the Hill of Tara itself.

This website is a resource for those who wish to find out about the campaign to re-route the motorway and to learn about the history, archaeology and literature associated with this area that is "one of the most important and famous archaeological complexes in the world".


Tara na Ri
By the Celtic Druids of Ireland
Tara. The name conjures a magic feeling in the hearts of those who have never even visited Tara. For those who have visited Tara - the memories are truely awe inspiring. For those who visit regularily - the guardians of this sacred place can be felt if you allow them to do so, words alone cannot share the magic at Tara. Many have visited only once and it has changed their lives.

But there is a problem, there is an attempt to force a TOLL ROAD through the high valley between Tara and Skreen. This sacred valley is called the Gabhra and it contains a little known stream that was once the life blood of the community that lived beside the royal residence on Tara. The Gabhra stream is sacred to the Celtic Goddess - Edain Echraidhe of the Gaelic Mileseans. 

We need your help - please be involved in Dreaming Tara's Celtic Goddess and if you wish - please also join us at Druidschool in spirit as we hold a full moon ceremony on Tara.



Irish Plant Links

Kerry Gems - Visitor Guide - The Flora of Kerry


National Botanical Gardens Glasnevin, Ireland


Republic of Ireland - All things Irish


The Burren of County Clare, Ireland


Wildflowers of Ireland at the CalFlora Website


Tree Council of Ireland

Did you know?

Ireland's widest tree is a Monterey Cypress in Innishannon, County Cork Ireland.  It is 12 meters round.

Interestingly, Monterey Cypress is native to California, occurring naturally in only two groves in the Monterey Bay region.


Ireland's tallest tree is a Douglas Fir in County Wicklow, Ireland.  It is 56 meters high and is also native to North America.

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