The Sodshow, Garden Podcast

Talk: Speaking With Plants at The National Botanic Gardens


speaking, national botanic gardens

This email comes in from the fantabulous Alexandra Boyd [UCD] who sez:

I am organising a really interesting event in The National Botanic Gardens on 28th June and thought your Friday Gardening show might be interested in having a chat with Dr Niamh Shaw who has been on a mission to turn her dead plants into blossoming beauties. Over the past three months Dr Niamh Shaw, scientist turned performer has been working with leading plant biologist Prof Bruce Osborne from UCD to turn her into a green fingered gardener and help her understand the complexity and skill of maintaining healthy plants. The show will involve a video diary of her experience and will feature conversations with Dr Mathew Jebb of the Botanic Gardens and IT Gardening Correspondent – Fionnuala Fallon. The really unique thing is that Niamh’s Dad is a fantastic gardener and bee keeper she’s learned nothing from him despite years of guidance!!!! He’ll be joining our event too.

See more about the event and speakers in the attached document below.

I know we have had Fionnuala and Matthew on The Sodshow before and though I’m a long time hort-anical admirer of Niamh’s, I am working booked out this Saturday and just seeing this now and sorry Alexandra [and Niamh], but after taking last Friday off to do some speaking stuff and now playing a little bit catch up, I literally just cannot get there. That said, I’m gonna try and set an interview with Niamh for a bit down the road.

My busy saturday aside, any of Niamh’s talks are higher than highly recommended.
Go there. Listen. Smile. And Enjoy.

x Peter

all the info ye need below….

Listen to The SodShow:

Dr Niamh Shaw, scientist turned performer & Prof Bruce Osborne, Plant Ecophysiology Research Group, UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science and UCD Earth Institute in association with EuroScience Ireland and kindly supported by INTEL present:

‘Speaking with Plants’ in The National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin at 14:30 on Saturday 28th June.

Dublin hosts The Plant Biology Europe FESPB/EPSO Congress 2014, which takes place in The Convention Centre Dublin from 23-29 June. The Congress will see delegates from over 50 countries including Mexico, Chile, US, India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Sri-Lanka, Russia, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Trinidad, Singapore and China converge on Dublin to engage in scientific debate and exchange on plant science.

UCD’s Professor Bruce Osborne, is President of The Federation of European Societies of Plant Biology (FESPB) and in charge of the organising committee of The Plant Biology Europe FESPB/EPSO 2014 Congress. Committed to public engagement in plant biology, he approached Dr Niamh Shaw about developing a short show about plants. They discovered a common passion for biology, ecology and house plants but sadly Niamh can’t keep a plant alive. So a challenge was set, Niamh was going to find her ‘green thumb’ and Bruce was going to guide her journey. Bruce wants to highlight the importance of plants and encourage us all to recognize the close connection between our lives and the plants around us.

Join us at 14:30 The National Botanic Gardens on Saturday 28th June to hear whether Niamh has succeeded in her grand challenge to keep her plants alive and even resurrect dead ones under the watchful eye of a leading plant biologist. Other contributors to the discussion will be Thomas P Shaw, Secretary of County Louth Beekeepers Association (Niamh’s green fingered Dad), Dr Matthew Jebb, Director of the National Botanic Gardens and horticulturist, garden writer and garden designer, Fionnuala Fallon the gardening correspondent for The Irish Times.

I can change a fuse, unblock a sink.
Make a mean lasagne, paint a wall,
Hem a seam, sing a song, run a bit, sweat a lot, dance, prance and
even juggle a bit!
I can do all of these things.
But I cannot keep plants alive.
My Dad’s an engineer. And a keen gardener.
I inherited his techy genes. But alas, not the green ones.

So I met Prof Bruce Osborne from the Plant Science Dept at UCD
And asked him to teach me, mentor me.
To unravel the mystery of keeping these green things alive.’
Dr Niamh Shaw

Join Dr Niamh Shaw in conversation and demonstration as she shares
the past 3 months of progress and the people she met along the way

Will she finally learn to speak with plants?


Dr Niamh Shaw
Performer, scientist and engineer, Dr. Niamh Shaw is passionate about awakening people’s curiosity. She regularly contributes popular science/tech related topics on national radio, podcasts and TV. As well as hosting/facilitating panel discussions, or Q&A events (UCD Science Expression, Engineers Ireland, Undergraduate Awards, Science Gallery), she also speaks publicly on all things curious, including Trailblazery Rites of Passage Series (Dublin Fringe Festival), Space Expo 2013 (TCD), Curious Tales with Dara O’Briain (Festival of Curiosity).

She co-founded the science art collaboration TATSOI, who made ‘That’s About The Size Of It’, and audio piece IN SIGHT OF EUREKA as part of their artist in residency at the Festival of Curiosity. She performs weekly with The Craic Pack Comedy Improv and long form improv troupe The Cardinals and guest blogged on Science Calling! & Dart of Physics. She is curious, always.

Professor Bruce Osborne
Although originally from a farming background I was, from an early age, more interested in football (soccer) and cricket. At University my interest in plants grew, and I specialized in plant biology for my biology degree at the University of Stirling. I then did a PhD at the University of Nottingham on the way in which grasses acquire nitrogen, often one of the most important elements underpinning grassland productivity.

Following postdoctoral positions at Queen’s University, where I worked on photosynthesis, and the University of Dundee, where I worked on light utilization by microalgae, I took up an assistant lectureship at UCD, progressing through lecturer, senior lecturer and then professor. At UCD I have maintained a diverse programme of plant-related research including assessments of greenhouse gas emissions, invasive plant biology and plant-microbial symbioses. Increasingly my research has been directed at ecosystem level experiments and climate change impacts. I established the first experiments in the country on the role of forests in climate change mitigation in 2002 and these measurements continue today. Recent funding has enabled us to install a small laboratory and a range of other infrastructure for monitoring climatic and soil conditions, as well as artificial heating systems to simulate the effects of climate warming.

Despite remaining a deeply committed plant ‘person’ our garden in Dunlaoghaire could look a lot better according to my wife! I blame it on the dog!

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