a mediateam website

See a sample issue of The Irish Garden!

April 2012

To see a sample of the current issue of Ireland's best-selling gardening magazine, click the image below.

Accessing from an iPad? This edition is designed for PC and Mac access using Flash, which is not supported by the iPad. To access the iPad edition, search 'The Irish Garden' in the Apple app store.

Little House of Horrors!

Rachel Darlington grows carnivorous plants, and some others.

As a gardener and a mother, I am constantly looking for ways to interest my children in the garden. It is easier with the under-tens but I must confess that teenagers have proved to be very much a lost cause for me. So, when my eldest son expressed interest in the tropical pitcher plant, Nepenthes, I knew that this could be the bait to lure him in. But, in the end, it was me who was lured!

There is very little in the plant kingdom that excites me as much as the unfurling of a Nepenthes pitcher. I came to understand this after a brief dabbling with monkey cups that led to the purchase of a rarer Nepenthes. First the plant grows a long thin tendril from its leaf tip. Then gradually the tip of the tendril swells. Almost immediately a miniature, closed, pitcher is visible and the coming days just help to grow it. With my Nepenthes ‘Miranda', it took some time until the pitcher was large enough to start to colour up.

I was enthralled to watch its markings deepen in shade and intricacy. But only when the pitcher had attained its final length, did it deliver the coup de grâce. The pitcher lid separated on three sides from the pitcher and opened. Then, like a majestically clothed king adjusting the ornate collar of his cloak, my nepenthes curled its pitcher rim outwards and downwards, displaying its dark red, vertically-ridged ruff. Wow!

Around this time, my second son had his birthday party and as each parent arrived to collect their child, they were ushered unashamedly into the kitchen to view my pride and joy - my nepenthes pitcher. In the end, hubby had to rein me in by gently explaining that not everyone is quite as fascinated by monkey cups as I am. But where can such a narrow obsession with a few carnivorous plants lead? The normal route of expansion might be to try and collect as many different types as possible. But I decided that this was not for me.

My interest in carnivorous plants is shallow. It extends only to the good looking ones and does not warp into activities such as buying live crickets for plant feeding sessions. No, in my case initial interest in sarracenia and nepenthes branched in two directions. One branch led to orchids where I continue to happily wallow every winter.

The other branching of my interest went towards aroids. Aroids are not carnivores but they are so striking, almost intimidating in their appearance, that one might be forgiven for imagining some connection with the carnivorous. Some are foul-smelling, to attract flies, but many are well worth having in the garden and will certainly raise an eyebrow or two!




Garden.ie Members

Not a member yet?
Join now to:

Join Now

Existing Members

Forgotten password

Garden.ie CLUB

Join Ireland's first online garden club! Share pictures of your garden, make new friends and chat with other gardeners. It's simple to join and free! Register Here

Featured Members

a mediateam website

©2018 Garden.ie. Mediateam Ltd, Media House, South County Business Park, Leopardstown, Dublin 18.

Tel (+353 1) 2947777 Email info@garden.ie

Website Design by KCO.ie