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Proposed policies guiding the management of the plant collections within Glenveagh Castle Gardens


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Proposed policies guiding the management of the plant collections within Glenveagh Castle Gardens.

The policies documented below set out the principle policies by which the Garden and its collections are managed. It is widely accepted practice throughout the global Botanic Garden community that substantial plant collections are best managed by ‘clearly documenting’ the principle areas of focus. These areas of policy appear below in a prioritised manner and can be said to exist as part of a closed circle, each aspect of policy relating to the next.


Policy I – The Purpose of the Garden

The Gardens serve as a publicly accessible amenity. They are an integral part of Glenveagh National Park. Of particular significance is the landscape setting of the Castle and Gardens and the pristine quality of the environment. A landscape garden laid out from 1885-1900 survives and is over-laid with new planting and architectural additions dating to the mid 20th cent. The rich planting is augmented with collections of statues, furniture and fittings all of which are conserved. The Mission of Garden Team is – “through horticultural craftsmanship conserve and enhance the Castle Gardens. Through educational activities foster understanding of the importance of conservation of our cultural and natural heritage”.



Policy II – Managing the Plant Collections


While much of the planting in the gardens dates from the mid. 20th century – a major ingredient of the vegetation of the garden is the pre-existing and continually developing native holly/oak woodland flora. This woodland together with the scots pine shelter-belt forms the critical structure of the garden. It is significant that there is such a diverse range of types of planting in the garden. The Walled Garden contains a rich selection of herbaceous flowers, fruit trees and bushes and a broad range of edible plants. There are several woodland walks such as the Belgian Walk, Woods Path and 67 Steps and Swiss Walk. The View Garden contains a unique collection of silver/grey and glossy foliage plants that create a particular effect. The paved yards next to the Castle contain differing planting styles so that each has an individual character given to it by a unique combination of trees shrubs and flowers. Each of the recognised elements of the plant collection documented below will be reviewed every 5 years. Plant material under the following headings will be grown and conserved in the Castle Gardens provided the plants pose no threat of spreading into the ‘natural zone’ of the Park.

Major elements of Glenveagh Castle Gardens plant collection





  • Native Plants associated with native oak woodland

  • Ericaceous plants = Rhododendron, Pieris, Gaultheria, Erica, Calluna, Daboecia species and cultivars.

  • Plants from every temperate region of the world are represented in the collection. China and Japan are very well represented giving the Pleasure Grounds an ‘Oriental Character’ while Southern Hemisphere species eg. Euchryphia, Dicksonia, Olearia, Griselinia, Hoheria, Nothofagus, Metrosideros and Eucalyptus give a Mediterranean feel to the Belgian Walk and Tuscan Garden.

  • Irish Garden Plants

  • Scented plants

  • Large leafed herbaceous plants



Acquisition & Retention Policy - Only plant material will be accepted in the Garden that adds positively to the collections as outlined in the acquisition and retention policy – these are plants that will be acquired and kept within the garden plant collection. Where plants cannot be propagated from Glenveagh material reliable nursery sources will be found.



Historic introductions


eg. Rhododendron species and cultivars together with a wide range of Southern Hemisphere species particularly from Chile and New Zealand

  • Taxa unique to Glenveagh - Dahlia ‘Matt Armour’

Rhododendron ‘Mulroy Vanguard, Fasicularia bicolor

New Collections

  • Yunnan material wild collected species


  • ICCP material – rare and endangered species from RBG Edinburgh

  • Plant taxa unique to Glenveagh – Paeonia ‘Wendy Walsh’, Olearia ‘Willie Brady’

  • Donegal Garden plants – Roses, material from historic gardens, Gortahork cabbage, Potatoe Arran Victory

  • Rare native plants – Sorbus rupicola, Ligusticum scoticum, Trollious europaea, archaeophytes (plants of ancient cultivation).

  • Plant cultivars of know Irish origin – heathers, apples etc.



De accessioning - Removal of plant material with potential to spread/naturalise in Natural Zone will remain a priority. Species being removed include :


Alchemilla mollis Gunnera tinctoria

Hoheria populnea Rhododendron ponticum

Dicksonia antarctica Gaultheria mucronata

Policy III – Recording Accessions


A record is maintained of the plant name, what form it comes in (seed, bulb, plant) where it was sourced (from the wild, a nursery, another garden) and where it is grown in the garden. Unrecorded material is not acceptable in the garden. The process of recording the collections and safe-guarding the accessioning policy is the chief responsibility of the Head Gardener.

Policy IV – Monitoring

Historic records are maintained and augmented. An understanding of the unique qualities of the Castle Gardens will continue to be fostered. Every five years the itinerary of the plant collections is updated. This together with an A-Z catalogue of the species and varieties in cultivation at the Castle Gardens be made available.


Policy V - Access

Access to the garden is all-year-round, seven days a week, from dawn to dusk. All parts of the garden that can be made accessible to wheelchair access have been made so. There are three areas of the garden where access is restricted to staff only, the nursery area, the garden yard and the area of the 67 Steps due to conservation and safety restrictions.


Where possible the collections will be labelled, signage is provided to help with visitor orientation, a self-guiding trail is marked out and garden tours are available on request. In conjunction with the Education/Guide Staff – public education programmes will be developed to foster understanding of the plant conservation and the role of the Castle Gardens as an historic flower garden.





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