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12 New Plants To The Market – From Ireland

I have interviewed my good friend Pat Fitzgerald before. Twice actually.

But when a Kilkenny man brings 12 new plants to the market, already employs 35 people and exports [some as far as Japan] over 85% of all of his plants grown…. I think it’s more than news worthy. An Irish man selling Japanese style plants in Japan….? Add to that the fact that he’d be considered quite young in an Irish nursery business to have achieved what he has.

To horticulture, some of the plants have just come online, most have never been seen before and others have already award winning. For those not in the plant breeding business and for want of a better definition, put simply, somebody has invented these plants. More details on that below.

From a plant enthusiasts perspective, a picture is one thing. A video is another. Take a look and see what you think.

Pictures and descriptions are below.

  1. Carex oshimensis Evergreen is similar to the species form of the Oshima sedge from Japan with wonderful simple brown tipped abundances of flower in Spring. Almost 1 million Carex plants will be produced by Pat in 2010. Evergreen provides a simple natural and relaxing under planting or feature plant in containers and this from was selected for its more compact growth and depth of colour.
  2. Libertia ixiodes Goldfinger bred at Naturally Native Nurseries in New Zealand and marketed in Europe by Plantipp Netherlands on behalf of New Zealand’s Lyndale Nurseries Kiwi Gold native New Zealand plant collection. Ideal for containers in the colder regions and mass planting in coastal and milder parts. Goldfinger will tolerate temperatures of -5 C to -7 C but below these temperatures will need protection with heavy fleece covering. This fantastic plant has white flowers in May and the foliage colour changes from butter yellow to old gold as temperatures decrease through Autumn and Winter.
  3. Carex trifida Rekohu Sunrise Another representative from New Zealand’s native flora. This is the first introduction from the trifida species of Carex and in New Zealand is commonly known as Muttonbird Sedge due to the flowers resembling the feet of the native Muttonbird. Rekohu Sunrise was bred by Mr Terry Hatch of Joy Nurseries in New Zealand. Rekohu Sunrise can be cut right back to tidy it up in March /early April and will produce vigorous but compact shoots of wonderful bright foliage.
  4. Ophiopogon nigrascens and its other mondo grass relatives are some of hardiest, functionally attractive and most versatile dwarf ground cover plants available. Slow growing ground hugging and with wonderful detail in flower and berry what more can one ask from a plant but there is more. Ophiopogon nigrascens is drought tolerant, will grow in shade semi shade and full sun and is hardy to at least -15 C. This Japanese native provides attractive ground cover in the garden and develops lilac coloured flower spikes which on mature plants set attractive black berries. There is also an improved variety of this wonderful plant and its called Blackbeard. Bred by Steve Yandell from Penzance it has faster growth, longer leaves and a greater clumping habit.
  5. Canna Tropicanna is a Tropical perennial plant introduced by Mr Keith Kirsten from South Africa named and marketed around the world by Anthony Tesselaar International. Tropicanna has led to two other varieties, Tropicanna Black and Tropicanna Gold. Canna Generally has a reputation for being difficult to grow by some people, but it can be a wonderful addition to the small garden and should not be ignored for those of us with foliage colour lust. Tropicanna also has amazing flowers.
  6. Royal Hawaiian Colocasia go on sale in Europe generally in Spring early Summer 2011 although some baby plants will be available a little earlier. The collection comes from an internationally acclaimed breeder Dr John J Cho who has achieved outstanding success with his new line of ornamental Colocasias.
  7. Cordyline australis Karo Kiri is a most unusual variety of the common Cordyline we see all over Ireland in our coastal towns and cites. Karo Kiri is an easily maintained dwarf form and is versatile in containers or small gardens. It comes from New Zealand breeder and selector Ross Baybliss
  8. Carex oshimensis Everest Pat has been growing Carex for 20 years now and having been bought stock of the well known Carex Evergold as a birthday present (another long story) the year he set up FitzGerald Nurseries. Now the biggest producer of Carex oshimensis possibly in the world. Carex oshimensis thrives in the Irish climate and is a versatile plant for the garden or containers. Sometimes misused it leads to unsightly clumps in exposed and sodden landscapes. It is ideally suited to sheltered urban gardens, will thrive in semi shade situations and in containers giving the most wonderful white margins seen on any plant. Everest was picked as an entrant in the recent American Idols plant competition in USA and won a Silver medal at Plantarium in Boskoop Netherlands.
  9. Carex oshimensis Everillo was first launched at the wonderful Hillsborough Show in Northern Ireland earlier in May and was only just discovered in 2008 and is set for a worldwide release in Spring 2012. This is how long it takes even a relatively fast to produce plant such as Everillo. A fantastic addition for shade and semi shade and is a Japanese native bred for its colour.
  10. Phormium cookianum Black Adder now sold to Japan, Australia, its native New Zealand USA and most European countries. Black Adder was selected over 6 years ago has been a wonderful success story adopted by many nurseries including leading New Zealand Nursery Lyndale Nurseries as the number one black / purple Phormium. Black Adder won best container plant award for FitzGerald Nurseries at the worlds largest professional Horticulture Show IPM Essen Germany in 2008.
  11. Yucca gloriosa Bright Star a winner at IPM Essen 2009 with first prize for best patio container plant. Bright Star was discovered at Walberton Nursery West Sussex England by Mr Tim Crowther, promoted by Plants For Europe and introduced into production in Europe by FitzGerald Nurseries. Bright Star is an outstanding colour selection of the hardy and drought tolerant Yucca gloriosa. It has pink colouring which comes during drought or cold weather conditions.
  12. Cordyline fruticosa Caruba Black is a tropical Cordyline from Anthony Tesselaar and produced exclusively in Europe by FitzGerald Nurseries. Unlike its more hardy cousin C. australis Caruba Black needs temperatures over 3 C to maintain its attractive appearance and colour so must only be used as a Summer dot plant to give a tropical exotic look to borders or containers. It can even be cut back in spring to encourage multiple stems.
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Carex Oshimensis ‘Evergold’

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The Carex or sedge plant [cyperaceae] is a genus of over 1,500 species. They are mostly evergreen, at least those that I am most familiar with, although there are some that are deciduous and they are grown mainly for their foliage.

The member of the Carex family that I am chosing to profile is the Carex oshimensis ‘Evergold’. It’s an amazing plant. The first time I grew these I had them in hanging baskets as I had bought them very young. When they grew a bit more I planted them straight into the garden and the following year I divided them andgave them them away.

To that point it is that ease of propagation that I love about them the most. They can of course be grown by seed. To divide…. wait until you have a decent sized clump; dig up; and split it apart either by teasing [like unravelling knotted hair….] or with two garden forks back to back. Drive them in and push in opposite directions.  

Carex oshimensis can often be confused with its relation, that of C. morrowii. A green/ gold and white[ish] striped leaves it an grow up to 12″ tall. The reason I like this plant so much…. it’s great in containers, as underplanting with other grasses, in borders or on its own….

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Ever Wondered What It Takes To Grow A Plant…?

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October Bank Holiday Weekend, I went to Kilkenny. I had so much to do….

On my agenda was to meet my good friend & plant inventor Pat Fitzgerald.

I had interviewed Pat for the blog before. I had also worked with Pat on so many of my projects and gardens… but I’d never seen his nursery. The place, his place to be more exact, the place where the plants I have designed into projects, designs and gardens are born, reared and looked after. This is where I started to get excited….

Excited ? About plants…? On a bank holiday weekend…? Have I nothing else better to be doing…? I wouldn’t swap what I love doing so much for anything else in the world 😆

Pat, in my opinion 😉 is a little bit special in the Irish context of horticulture in that 85-90% of his plants are exported to places like Japan & The USA.. thats a total of almost 3.5 million plants as a by the way…. not bad?!!


*disclaimer: I’ve never received money from Pat for anything I have ever done. I simply think he’s got a different and an interesting story. More than that… he’s one of lifes good guys. More importantly, he’s got a sense of humour and enjoys a pint on a Friday night. shame I have to put a disclaimer in at all being honest….

Heres’s the first video I did with Pat… nice story 😉

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kilkenny Castle Rose Garden & Park

On Monday the 26th October 2009 I went to visit Kilkenny Castle Rose Park & Gardens. I went under the recommendation of my good friend Pat Fitzgerald.

As I walked up towards the castle I was bemused at the amount of brand spanking smooth polished granite that adorned such a vast are[n]a, complete with mirror polished steel against this ancient backdrop of the beautiful castle…. who on Gods earth decided on this…? such a shame. And to those who did this… you should be ashamed.

That out of my system. It was the gardens I went to see.Admission is free. The grounds are very well maintained.The sight of new tree planting schemes is to be applauded and admired. I really do love this park… The hills of grass so high in parts that one couldn’t see over the far side. The wooded areas were left with stacks of wood [brilliant for wildlife]underneath the canopy of wooded leaf areas. The leaves adorned some of the footpaths but not all. There are so many options when walking here… the poem ‘the road less travelled’ really does come to mind. The walkway by the waters edge is superb, so romantic, such a break from the norm…

It really is so very well done.  The grounds staff deserve a standing ovation. I could have stayed here all day….

The bad bit…. the rose garden was closed off. I attempted to sneak in under the advice of two local ladies…. but I got caught and was chucked out 😉 So this now becomes a review of Kilkenny Castle Park…

Go there and visit. Take your time. Bring the kids. Bring the dog. Watch out for the such beautiful secluded seating areas. Take your time and enjoy. This is up there with the best of them.

More images of kilkenny castle gardens can be viewed here

Int. Plant Propagators Society World Conference

Depending on your level of interest in horticulture you may have been lead to believe, via the title, that post is of zero interest to you….. But what if I told you that for the first time in the organisations history….

Ireland is hosting the International Plant Propagators World conference AND that this conference will not return to Ireland within the next 30 years?

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Many prestigious plant propagators and growers from all over the globe.  Visitors from New Zealand, Australia, USA, South Africa, UK, Scandanavia and a number of other countries will be converging on Kilkenny from the 15th of September to 18th of September at Lyrath Estate Hotel convention centre.

On Wednesday 16th approximately 100 delegates will visit FitzGerald Nurseries and trials field where the official tree planting ceremony will take place beside our 2000 year old Celtic ring fort where the first farmers in this area would have settled.  Its fitting that this planting takes place adjacent to where the first Celtic agricultural activities occurred in this immediate vicinity. Visits to local nurseries in Kilkenny, Waterford and Tipperary are planned and full schedule of events can be found here. http://www.ipps.org.uk/conference.html

The International Plant Propagators Society was founded in 1951 and is now organised into eight Regions world wide. Each Region is run by its own local committee chaired by its own President, Bernard Brennan is the President of the GB&I region for 2009. Each IPPS region manages its own finances

The IPPS Region of Great Britain and Ireland, includes members not only from the UK and the Republic of Ireland but from most other member states of the European Union as well as many countries in Eastern Europe. In fact more than 20% of the 450-strong membership is based in ‘continental’ Europe.

The Region organises a series of area meetings on an annual basis where leading nurseries, research locations, outstanding gardens and centres of horticultural excellence are visited and ideas and expertise are openly shared. Workshops are offered to help transfer and share current best practice within the plant production industry.

Annual Conference brings together leading experts from the industry who share their well researched and accumulated wisdom with members. This technical expertise and knowledge is shared with the industry at large through the IPPS Proceedings.

See blog for updates  http://fitzgeraldnurseries.blogspot.com/