Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Surrounded by Carnivorous Plants - in Dublin !

Last Friday I made a flying visit to Dublin for the day.  Yes the day - a bit mad I know, but a really worthwhile trip.

The main purpose was to meet with many members of the newly formed Irish Society of Botanical Artists (ISBA website -  We are working on a lovely project, illustrating each of the 18 letters of the Irish alphabet with native wild plants.  We have each been assigned a letter and a plant, neither of which we had prior knowledge of, so that made it all the more exciting ! I am illustrating Restharrow, and also because I am a sucker for punishment, an additional plant - Teasel.

For more information about the project go to:

Images from the ISBA Botanical Alphabet support meeting

I had the morning spare, being let loose in the National Botanic Gardens Glasnevin and in the afternoon we had an 'alphabet support meeting', with the wonderful Brendan Sayers who is the Curator at the gardens and Susan Sex, who is the most amazing Botanical Artist.

Back to the morning - where to go ?  The wind was getting up and feeling a bit tired from my early morning flight I decided to venture into the warmth of the glass houses.  I went into the first one I came across and was faced with the most beautiful sight of several Sarracenias.  If you haven't seen these before they are carnivorous plants that originate from the southeastern USA.  These plants are also known as pitcher plants.

The pitchers themselves are modified leaves and insects are attracted to the pitchers because they mimic flowers.  They are often brightly coloured and have glands or nectaries located near the pitcher opening - which is a dangerous place for insects to be!

There I stood mesmerised by these plants and I started to sketch.  The first plant I drew was Sarracenia flava 'Maxima'  which had a large yellow-green flower, surrounded by pitchers.  I had taken my colour pencils with me to make colour notes, but I must admit I preferred to use my trusty watercolours.

© 2013  Sarah Morrish

The flowers are fascinating
© 2013  Sarah Morrish
© 2013  Sarah Morrish
© 2013  Sarah Morrish

After stretching my legs for a short walk around the gardens I returned back to the Sarracenias and drew a couple of the pitchers.  Unfortunately I didn't make a note of the plant name.  Both of the pitchers below were drawn life-size in my A4 Moleskin watercolour book.

© 2013  Sarah Morrish
© 2013  Sarah Morrish
Lunch was then 'calling', which was a very social affair meeting up with other members of the group, some of whom I had 'met' on Facebook, so it was lovely to meet them in person !

 A couple of the glasshouses at the Botanic Gardens