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Bamboo is hardy and easy to grow

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By Debby Looney, our weekly gardening expert

Is there such a thing as a plant which ticks every single box? I don’t think so. But a plant which is one of the most versatile I can think of is certainly bamboo.

There is a bamboo for every need, and every type of garden, really, their only drawback is that they do not flower. On the other hand, they are hardy, easy to grow, evergreen, stay true to their size, provide sound, colour and movement, and are so unique they do not compete with other plants. The fact that they do not flower is, for me, one of their strengths, as they provide a beautiful backdrop for flowers in the summer and fill the emptiness in the winter without one having to worry about clashing colours!

CHOOSE CAREFULLY

Bamboo root systems are quite shallow, so while they do grow almost anywhere, they do best in fertile, moist, but not waterlogged, soil, which has been dug over. They benefit greatly from an annual mulch, and prefer to be sheltered from extreme wind. That said, I have a bamboo in a pot which dries out regularly, is forgotten about and gets the full force of the wind, but is still alive. Not growing, perhaps, but not dead either!
The important thing with bamboo is to choose carefully and do the research. There are a thousand plus varieties and some will naturalise and crowd out other plants. If you are in doubt, line a very large hole with strong plastic, into which you cut some drainage holes, this should keep your plant in check.

HARDY

The easiest and one of the largest bamboo is Pseudosasa japonica. It is classed as a runner, and needs space. I do a yearly trim around the rhizomes and this keeps it tidy. It has mid green, olive coloured culms, (stems of a bamboo), and dark green foliage growing to over 5m. It is incredibly hardy. A very popular bamboo is Phyllostachys nigra, the black bamboo – so called for its beautiful dark culms. It grows well in a large pot, but if it is planted in the ground it will reach 5m also. Another very hardy one to try is Phyllostachys aurea, the golden bamboo. Its canes are very recognisable, having a swelling below each node.
Medium sized bamboos, about 2m, are ideal for containers, or as screens. Fargesia dracocephala is a very hardy plant, which copes well with a level of neglect. It has dense, dark foliage which makes it ideal as a hedge. Fargesia ‘Jumbo’ is a firm favourite and with its arching habit it is very graceful.

EASIEST TO GROW

Yet another use for bamboo is groundcover and to this end Indocalamus tessellatus is possibly the easiest to grow and reaches a maximun of 1m tall. It will happily cover as much ground as you will give it. It is a bit of a slow starter if the soil is heavy, but once it gets going weeds don’t stand a chance! Another excellent choice is Sasa veitchii which is very dense and fast growing. Its leaves turn pale brown around the edges in winter, giving it a variegated appearance.
Lastly, there are a few unusual types to look out for. Shibatea kumasaca is a groundcover plant, which can be clipped into formal hedges and shapes as it makes small dense clumps. Chimonobambusa quadrangularis is a 3m tall specimen with square stems – it grows in distinct clumps and its leaves are very glossy, and, well, shaggy looking! Hibanobambusa ‘Shiroshima’ is a beautiful variegated plant, with vibrant yellow and green streaked leaves. It is extremely hardy.

So, whether you need a privacy screen, groundcover, specimen plant or pot plant, there is a bamboo out there for you!

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Taking care of your skin at home

By Jill O’Donoghue from Killarney Toning and Beauty Studio In Part 2 of taking care of your skin at home it’s important to do the following steps after cleansing, toning […]

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By Jill O’Donoghue from Killarney Toning and Beauty Studio

In Part 2 of taking care of your skin at home it’s important to do the following steps after cleansing, toning and exfoliating your face, neck and décolleté.

Serums, eye creams and moisturisers: Moisturising provides a protective layer to the skin that locks in moisture and keeps skin hydrated. This hydration is what gives your skin a smooth and luminous appearance. This is the step in your skincare routine you don’t want to skip. We always apply the serum closest to the skin as it’s water based and needs to be absorbed on the deepest layer of the skin; the basal layer which is the active layer. It’s where the collagen and elastin start to grow and move up towards the surface of the skin. The more hyaluronic acid, peptides, ribose, and active ingredients in your serums the better. We need to keep our fibroblasts, melanocytes healthy as they are the source of plump, juicy skin.

An eye cream to me is the most important cream as the eye area is a place that doesn’t have any sebaceous glands (oil gland). These glands help remove old skin cells, keep the skin lubricated and prevent tissues drying out. Therefore, for me, I always use an eyelid lifting serum, eye cream in the night time and eye roll-on gel in the morning. Our eyes can make us look older than we are so it’s important to look after them. It’s very important not to go too close to the eye when applying creams as the skin is very thin. A little bit often makes a big difference.

When applying your serum and cream rub upwards and outwards; be careful not to tug the delicate skin around the eyes.

Apply SPF all year round, it’s the most important step in preventing skin cancer and keeps your skin healthy as you age. Protecting your skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays helps maintain a healthy youthful visage. However, it’s important to remember the best form of sun block is to keep your face in the shade.

With all skincare routines, it’s important to keep it consistant. Do it twice a day every day and follow with monthly facials. Your skin is the largest organ on the body. This means that it’s important to take good care of it.

For more information, or to book a skin consultation or facial, call Jill on 064 6632966.

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How to have the best skincare routine at home

By Jill O’Donoghue from Killarney Toning and Beauty Studio Home care is essential for glowing, youthful skin. It’s like brushing your teeth, it must be done twice a day. Step […]

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By Jill O’Donoghue from Killarney Toning and Beauty Studio

Home care is essential for glowing, youthful skin. It’s like brushing your teeth, it must be done twice a day.

Step one: Cleanse to remove sweat, oil, dirt and other pollutants that your skin naturally collects throughout the day and night. It’s the first step in your skincare routine and shouldn’t be rushed.

How to do it; Cleanse your skin in the morning and in the evening to keep your pores clear and your face fresh. Your cleanser may vary based on skin type, but with all cleansers, the general consensus is to apply them using an upward, circular motion so as to prevent wrinkles from forming. Make sure your hands are clean in order to prevent excess dirt from entering your pores.

Step two: There is a lot of confusion around toner, and when you’re first establishing a daily skincare routine, it may even seem unnecessary. But most experts agree that toning is an important addition to your skin care routine with beneficial effects for your skin. After you cleanse your skin of impurities, toner removes any residue left behind by the cleanser as well as any make-up or oils your cleanser might have missed. The added cleansing effects help prepare your skin to absorb moisturiser and minimise the appearance of pores. Some toners may have PH balancing and antiseptic effects as well. Apply toner right after you have cleansed your skin while it is still damp. The best way to apply it is with a cotton pad or cotton ball, simply soaking cotton pad with toner and wiping upward and out, starting at your neck.

Step 3: Exfoliate. Our skin is constantly shedding millions of skin cells every day, but sometimes those cells can build up on the surface of our skin and need some extra help to be removed. Exfoliating removes these dead skin cells that have accumulated in our pores. If you struggle with blackheads, acne or breakouts, you’re not going to want to miss this step.

It’s best to exfoliate after toning and before moisturising. You should exfoliate one to three times a week, but this depends on your skin type and how it reacts to exfoliation. Experiment and find what works best for you. There are chemical exfoliators and granule exfoliators such as your traditional sugar or salt scrub. Both can be effective tools for removing dead skin cells, but chemical exfoliating ingredients like AHA and BHA are often more effective in getting deep into your pores and removing buildup.

Properly cleansed skin will allow your next steps e.g. serums and moisturisers get to the right layers of the skin where they will be most effective.

For a skincare consultation or more advice just ask Jill on 064 6632966.

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