Irish winter could change plant palette according to Bloom exhibitors

The harsh winter which killed thousands of plants in Ireland could change gardener's plant palettes according to Senior College Dun Dunlaoghai principle lecturer in garden design Barry Lupton.

Speaking to Horticulture Week at the Bloom show where he was coordinating student help on the Patterns of Change garden, Lupton said: "The losses across the industry have been quite severe. On the West Coast of Ireland there was not a Phormium left in the ground so a lot of designers are re-evaluating their plant pallets. The reality is a lot of Mediterranean plants just don't suit Ireland."

Barry Lupton said the winter could lead designers to move away from the RHS and Hillier guides, in recognition of the fact that Ireland has a slightly different, more humid climate than much of the UK.

The majority of designers at the show made use of native plants, in part a reflection of the judging criteria which encouraged Irish planting.

RHS judge Andrew Wilson has been in charge of garden judging since the show's inception four years ago and he said designers were making good use of local plants.

"What Bloom have done is to be a little more specific than the RHS' sustainability criteria by asking people to show materials are Irish.  It's not necessarily giving it an extra point but it encourages inventiveness."

Nursery exhibitors reported major losses due to the freezing winter weather.

Fitzgerald Nursery owner Pat Fitzgerald said:  "We lost €100,000 worth of stock out in the fields. There was €40,000 worth of Bay Laurels.  But it hasn't been all bad, we have sold out of some lines and we have opened some new markets now in Switzerland and France."

Flannery Nurseries general manager Martina Wyse added: "We lost 12,500 plants over the winter so that was a further set back to an already difficult year."


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