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Summary Report

The phases of the annual cycles of certain flora and fauna have been known throughout history to be influenced by climate. Many diaries and garden records from past centuries, including those of the Armagh Observatory, give dates of phenological events such as bud burst, first flowering and leaf fall as well as the return of migratory birds such as the cuckoo. This type of material can help to provide proxy climate data for periods when no instrumental records are available, and also give valuable knowledge on how our changing climate is affecting the natural world today.

In the mid-twentieth century, a number of phenological gardens were set up in Europe with the intention of employing observations of certain common species of plants as indicators of climate change. They used genetically identical material provided by a central coordinating laboratory in Germany. Four such gardens were established in Ireland, namely those at Valentia Observatory, Co. Kerry; The J.F. Kennedy Arboretum, Co. Wexford; Johnstown Castle, Co. Wexford; and the Botanic Gardens, Dublin. Only one or two such gardens were established in Great Britain at that time and none in Northern Ireland.

Table: Species supplied by the IPG Central Coordinating Laboratory in March 2004, and the various Native Species included in the Phenology Garden.
IPG Species Common Name
121 Picea abies (early) Norway Spruce
122 Picea abies Norway Spruce
211 Betula pubescens Downy Birch
281 Tilia cordata Small-leafed Lime
311 Ribes alpinium Alpine Currant
321 Salix aurita Willow
323 Salix acutifolia Pussy Willow
324 Salix smithiana Smith's Willow
326 Salix viminalis Basket Willow
331 Sambucus nigra Elder
411 Corylus avellana Hazel
421 Forsythia susp. Forsythia
431 Syringa vulgaris Lilac

1 Taxus baccata Yew
2 Quercus robur Pedunculate Oak
3 Ilex aquifolium Holly
4 Euonymus europaeus Spindle
5 Arbutus unedo Strawberry Tree
6 Fraxinus excelsior Ash
7 Prunus spinosa Blackthorn
8 Crataegus monogyna Hawthorn
9 Corylus avellana Hazel
10 Viburnum opulus Guelder Rose

next up previous contents
Next: Why Armagh? Up: Phenology Garden Previous: Background   Contents