ORNAMENTAL GRASS GARDEN AT THE BOTANIC GARDENS IN DUBLIN
As well as being a tourist destination and an amenity for nearby residents, the gardens – offering free entry – serve as a centre for horticultural research and training, including the breeding of many prized orchids.
The soil at Glasnevin is strongly alkaline (in horticultural terms) and this restricts the cultivation of calcifuge plants such as rhododendrons to specially prepared areas. Nonetheless, the gardens display a range of outdoor “habitats” such as a rockery, herbaceous border, rose garden, bog garden and arboretum. A vegetable garden has also been established.
The National Herbarium is also housed at the National Botanic Gardens. The museum collection contains some 20,000 samples of plant products, including fruits, seeds, wood, fibres, plant extracts and artefacts, collected over the garden’s two-hundred-year history. The gardens contain noted and historically important collections of orchids. The newly restored Palm House houses many tropical and subtropical plants. In 2002, a new multistorey complex was built; it includes a cafe and a large lecture theatre. The gardens are also responsible for the arboretum at Kilmacurragh, County Wicklow, a centre noted for its conifers and calcifuges. This is located some 50 kilometres (31 miles) south of Dublin.
A gateway into Glasnevin Cemetery adjacent to the gardens was reopened in recent years.