Fota Arboretum & Garden

Located in the sheltered harbour of Cork, Fota Arboretum and Gardens are of international importance, containing one of the finest collections of rare and tender trees and shrubs grown outdoors in Ireland and Britain.

description

A summer time view of the Arboretum.

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Overview

Located in the sheltered harbour of Cork, Fota Arboretum and Gardens are of international importance, containing one of the finest collections of rare and tender trees and shrubs grown outdoors in Ireland and Britain.

By the early 1840's, the owner James Hugh Smith-Barry had commenced laying out the gardens, building terraces and high walls and converting field, wood and swamp into Arboretum, water, and gardens. In 1857 he was succeeded by his son Arthur Hugh Smith-Barry, who continued planting rare and exotic trees. His daughter, Mrs Dorothy Bell, continued this work after his death.

The arboretum is of international importance, its reputation deriving from the wide range and diversity of plants including exotic plants from the Southern Hemisphere. Its collection of plants is continually being added to with donations from Botanical Institutions, both at home and abroad.

Fota Arboretum contains an exceptional collection of conifers with some 130 species and varieties representing 26 genera. There are many outstanding examples, some of which were among the first to be planted in Europe. Fota also has a large number of Southern Hemisphere and Oriental broadleaved trees and shrubs.

The large walled gardens contain an exceptional rose collection, extensive borders of monocots, Southern Hemisphere herbaceous plants and climbers assembled with the assistance of the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin. The formal gardens include Yew hedges, a sunken Italian garden, a classical summerhouse, a restored orangery and a formal rose garden. South west of Fota House is a Victorian fernery and rockery.

Address: Fota Arboretum & Gardens, Fota Estate, Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork

Website: http://www.heritageireland.ie

From the earliest time of starting to develop the formal grounds around Fota House, it was fortunate to be a beneficiary of the many plant-hunting expeditions, which were taking place throughout the world from the mid 1800’s onwards. The vast territory of China was one of the areas with a unique collection of plants waiting to be discovered. The owners of large estates such as Fota were keen to be the first to have these new plants and in some cases some of them were very quick to arrive in Fota when they could astound their visitors with an array of rare and newly introduced plants. An example of this is the “Pocket Handkerchief Tree” (Davidia involucrata), which was introduced to Europe in 1904 and recorded as well established in Fota by 1909. The “Dawn Redwood” (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) rediscovered in 1944 and planted here in 1950 is a similar case. Over the decades Chinese plants have regularly been introduced to the collection and form a large part of what is grown in the Arboretum. The plants range from the tallest trees to the most beautiful flowering shrubs.

The following is a selection:

Abies recurvata, Acer griseum, Ailanthus altissima, Aralia chinensis, Camellia saluensis, Catalpa ovata, Cinnamomum camphor, Clematis armandii, Firmiana simplex, Ginkgo biloba, Jasminum mesnyi, Magnolia delavayi, Mahonia lomarifolia, Paeonia delavayi, Picea likiangensis, Pieris formosa var. forestii, Pinus armandii, Prunus serrula, Rhododendron sp & cv, Toona sinensis.

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