Rhododendron Week at National Botanic Gardens of Ireland

Rhododendron Week: 2 – 10 April 2022

Events brought to you by the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland and the Office of Public Works.

In early April the gardens at Kilmacurragh are marked by the splendour of their two centuries old Rhododendron collection bursting into flower. The significance of these venerable trees is down to the site’s long association with the National Botanic Gardens at Glasnevin.  The Acton family, who built Kilmacurragh, established a long and fruitful friendship with David Moore and later his son Sir Frederick Moore, successive curators at Glasnevin.  From the early 1850s, the Moore’s advised the Acton family on gardening matters and suppled the latest introductions of the great plant hunters, particularly from the Himalayan range.  For over 70 years a regular exchange of plants resulted in Kilmacurragh becoming one of the best stocked private gardens in these islands.  Today the collection boasts 180 species of rhododendrons and over 420 varieties. Since taking over the management of the site in 1996, the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland have both restored, and greatly expanded the collection.

Rhododendron week is an annual event in the calendar, when we showcase the highlights of the collection and explore the stories behind them.  This year we have a series of events happening every day throughout the week.

Presenters include Matthew Jebb (Director of the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland), and Seamus O’Brien (Head Gardener at the National Botanic Gardens, Kilmacurragh). This year our special guest lecturer and rhododendron expert is Marie-Louise Agius, a Director of Exbury Gardens in southern England, a world renowned woodland garden devoted to Rhododendron, and covering some 200 acres, which was created by her great-grandfather Lionel de Rothschild.  Marie-Louise in her own right is now a trustee and director of the gardens, and also runs the internationally acclaimed design company Balston Agius. She is a Royal Horticultural Society judge and former gold medallist at the Chelsea Flower Show, and an acknowledged expert on rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and rare trees and shrubs.

Wherever you live, we are delighted to be able to bring these events to you all both in person and online.