Hello everyone! I’m Eva, a soon-to-be 4th year Botany student, and I’ve been lucky enough to be given the opportunity to work as an intern at the Botanic Gardens for six weeks this summer. In this blog post I’m going to give a highlight reel of my favourite experiences in our first two weeks working here!

On our first day, I met the other intern, Alicia (here with me under the Magnolia grandiflora in the Walled Garden – I am holding the rake!) and all of the gardens staff:  Outreach Officer Michelle, gardeners Mick and Liz, and Curator, Dr Stephen Waldren, who gave us a whistle stop tour of the gardens and its history.

I also had the pleasure of meeting the resident cat, Fluffy, whom I’ve grown very fond of!

Me and Alicia
Myrtus communis subsp. tarentina


One species that I’ve been particularly intrigued by during my time here so far is the collection of young Mimosa pudica plants in the Experimental House. This plant is adapted to fold its compound leaves inward and droop when touched, warmed, blown or shaken as a defence adaptation. Almost every morning I visit these plants, and I’m equally thrilled by its impressive rapid movement each time. Due to its curious nature, this plant has been given many equally curious common names, such as shameplant, sleepy plant, action plant and my personal favourite: touch-me-not!

During our first week in the gardens, we spent a lot of time in the Experimental Area working with the pots of plants that were propagated over the past couple of years. This work involved pruning, watering, topping up soil and repotting, and with the vast number of pots in this area we had our hands full! Some of these plants hadn’t been repotted since before the pandemic, so it was very entertaining to see how they had responded to being pot-bound for such a long time.

For example, most of the roots of the myrtle plants (Myrtus communis subsp. tarentina) had burst through their pots and taken root below the gravel. These were especially hard work to pull out of the ground, but once they were out, the huge mass of roots tangled up in gravel was an astonishing sight to see!

Mimosa pudica

During our second week here, all the team prioritised getting the gardens in shape for the annual barbecue for the 4th years graduating from Botany, Zoology and Environmental Science at Trinity. Everyone was working hard under the sun pulling weeds, pruning trees, planting new flowers and getting the lawn ready for the marquees and barbecues. All of our hard work paid off as the gardens looked beautiful and the barbecue was a great success! I was so grateful to be able to attend the event, and it was definitely a highlight to see all of the staff from the School of Natural Sciences give the 4th years a warm send-off before their official graduation ceremony later in the year. I feel very lucky to be studying in a school that has such a strong sense of community!

And with that, our first two weeks at Trinity College Botanic Gardens are in the books. I can’t wait to report back again soon with all the exciting new experiences we will have here over the next few weeks!


While working in the gardens, I’ve often been in charge of watering the potted plants in the Experimental Area of the Walled Garden. This includes the garden’s outdoor population of purple pitcher plants (Sarracenia purpurea) that are used for pollination research. This population can be seen pictured here in full bloom. These plants are insectivorous, meaning that they get their nutrition from digesting insects!

Insectivorous plants such as these have evolved this way as an adaptation to extremely nutrient poor habitats. The collection of Sarracenia purpurea plants at Trinity College Botanic Gardens were sourced from a bog in Co. Offaly. However, these plants are not native, and originally have a native range in North America, particularly north-eastern USA and Canada. S. purpurea was introduced to Ireland in 1906 in Co. Roscommon, and can now be found in many Irish bogs amongst Sphagnum moss and native insectivorous plants such as sundews (Drosera spp.).