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Forcing bulbs to flower ahead of time

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By Debby Looney, gardening expert

It is apparently only a matter of 13 weeks until Christmas is upon us and forcing indoor bulbs requires precision timing!

One of my favourites are Amaryllis, properly known as Hippeastrum which are tall, striking, red or white Lily type flowers we all associate with Christmas. For many years I bought them as cut flowers but now prefer to grow the bulbs. They will be available from the end of October onwards as they must be planted between five and eight weeks before they are needed which is usually, but not necessarily, Christmas.

When you go to buy the bulbs, size is everything. Unfortunately the larger the bulb the higher the cost, but if you buy cheaper smaller bulbs the flowers will also be smaller and weaker. A decent sized bulb for an Amaryllis should be about 15cm in diameter. Place it in an adequately sized container – there should be about 5cm between the edge of the pot and the bulb. Fill the pot with multipurpose compost leaving the neck and shoulders of the bulb above the soil. Place in a bright spot, but away from heat and direct sunlight. Water moderately until growth starts and then start feeding with a liquid feed such as Baby Bio every second week. By Christmas it should be in full bloom. When the flower fades, stop feeding and give it less water until the foliage has turned yellow. Then stop watering altogether as it goes dormant. The bulb can remain in the same pot for about three years, at which point it should need a larger pot.

KICKSTART

Most bulbs need a period of cold weather, ie. winter, to kickstart them into growing. When forcing bulbs to flower ahead of time they need a period of artificial cold, such as a fridge, for a certain length of time which can vary from type to type. Therefore, always buy ‘prepared' bulbs as only these are suitable for growing indoors and have been treated to a cold spell. Hyacinths would be the most popular. I absolutely love the scent. I start planting them now, in two week intervals so that I have a continuous display for about six weeks. Gloves are recommended as hyacinth bulbs can cause skin irritation. Plant in free draining compost or preferably bulb fibre if you can get it. As with all bulbs used for indoor display, they can be planted close together but not touching each other or the sides of the pot. Ensure the top of the bulb is just visible. Keep hyacinth in a cool dark place such as a garage for about 10 weeks to allow root formation. At this point a shoot should also have grown. Place the pot in a bright spot indoors and about four weeks on they should be flowering. There are also special cases and pots available for hyacinths - I really advise having a look on the Internet and getting creative!

Other bulbs, such as grape hyacinths (muscari), dwarf daffodils, paperwhites, crocus and snowdrops can also be used for an indoor display. As with the hyacinths, these bulbs need 10 weeks of cold, dark conditions which mimics nature to trigger root growth and subsequent flowers. Using old teacups, teapots, soup bowls and even gravy boats can be an attractive way of displaying indoor or outdoor arrangements. Lining glass jars or vases with moss – the nice side facing out - before filling with compost is another way to create a cost effective yet pretty pot. Tie a festive ribbon around it and you have a lovely gift. Remember that press full of old mismatched and unwanted Christmas crockery? Well, plant them up – they will make great gifts too!

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Over 3000 turn out for Nathan’s Walk

Thousands of people across eight locations in Kerry took part in Darkness Into Light, the annual fundraising event organised by Pieta and supported by Electric Ireland, on Saturday morning. One […]

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Thousands of people across eight locations in Kerry took part in Darkness Into Light, the annual fundraising event organised by Pieta and supported by Electric Ireland, on Saturday morning.

One of the biggest in the county was the Killarney edition held in memory of Nathan O’Carroll. Over 3,000 people took part in the Killareny walk making it one of the biggest in the country. 

His mother Marie organises the walk locally each year.

She thanked the many business and individuals who made this year’s walk possible.

They were: Electric Ireland; Killarney Racecourse; Killarney National Park; Sheahan Group,; Daly’s Supervalu; Emergency Services and Order of Malta; MC Brendan Fuller of Radio Kerry; Videographer Dan Devane; Photographers Marie Carroll O’Sullivan and Konrad Paprocki; Samantha Nagle for Instagram and all the volunteers and supporters.

Stephanie Manahan, Pieta CEO, said: “We are beyond grateful for the thousands of people who supported the event this year. To see so many people come out each and every year is truly inspiring and each and every person makes a valuable contribution in enabling Pieta to provide free, professional therapy for suicide prevention and bereavement in Ireland. On behalf of the entire team at Pieta, we want to thank every single participant, volunteer, and supporter. Thanks to you, we can continue to support those who need us most.’’

Meanwhile in London, Aghadoe native Tara Cronin was the lead organiser of Darkness into light, Cricklewood. TV celebrity Laura Whitmore also took part in the London walk.

The annual helps to raise almost €4m nationally to fund Pieta’s lifesaving suicide prevention services. This figure is expected to increase over the coming weeks as public fundraising and corporate donations for the initiative continue.

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Brand new look for Killarney Magazine

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Hot off the presses! This years Killarney Magazine is out from this weekend.

Killarney’s premier tourism magazine is back on the streets with a fresh look.

The magazine has been reimagined by the Killarney Advertiser and KC Print team. The theme is ‘We are Killarney….Explore It Like We Do’ is packed with the best experiences our amazing town can offer.

Lead by the Killarney Advertiser team, the magazine is a vibrant reflection of the changing nature of the tourism market focussing on experiences, food, festivals, and craic.

This year’s magazine builds on the last seven editions of the Killarney Magazine first launched in 2016. It has become a must read for visitors and this edition is packed with experiences that are world class. Celebrating our unique town is a full-time job for the team and in this year’s edition the energy is hopping off the page.

Speaking about the magazine, Sales Manager Chris Davies explained that “bringing a fresh new look was important considering that so many businesses upgraded their offerings for the new season. This year we focused on the experience side of Killarney, and I think the content and listings showcase all of the great experiences our town has to offer”

This coffee table publication will be available from all hotels, restaurants, bars, and tourism spots from this weekend on.

It will be distributed weekly throughout the summer and is sure to be a massive success with visitors and locals alike.

The magazine is free, and to make this possible it is through advertising by businesses in our community. Thank you to all those who advertised this year, and, in the past, it would not be possible to represent our town in its awe-inspiring wonder without their support.

Grab a coffee and enjoy this year’s edition. Click here to read online!

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