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Geraniums grow well under trees

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By Debby Looney, gardening expert

Perennials come into their own during summer time, as do lupins, scabious, geraniums and countless other well-known flowers. However, one of the most versatile and beloved perennials has to be the hardy geranium.

I think everyone should have at least one variety somewhere and if your conditions are less than ideal, there should be many in your garden! Almost all varieties available are fully hardy and tolerate all soil types except completely waterlogged soil. Most do as well in shade as a sunny spot and are the least fussy plants I have grown.

They flower in shades of white, pink, mauve, blue and purple, and provide colour from May to October. One of the earliest varieties to flower is G. phaeum, a hardy plant which is has masses of purple, maroon, violet or white flowers from April onwards.

The foliage grows to about 15cm, but the flowers reach about 50cm tall and are of an upright habit. G. sanguineum is the next to make an appearance in my garden. It is a low growing spreading habit and is covered in pink cup-shaped flowers all summer. The leaves are toothed, and flowers range from pale pink to cerise. G. Ann Folkard is a favourite - it has a lax habit producing long shoots with golden leaves.

It has an abundance of magenta flowers with almost black centres and veins from May until frost. It covers a large area and is ideal for keeping weeds down. Another favourite would be Johnson’s Blue, often said to be the bluest and longest flowering of the geraniums. It has a fairly upright habit, and if this is what your space needs, don’t be tempted into buying Jolly Bee, Rozanne or Heidi.

Though these are all beautiful plants with blue flowers, they are all low growing and need a lot of horizontal space! An evergreen variety is G. cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo’, a low growing geranium with bright green foliage and pink flowers. G. machorrizum stays green in my garden over winter, with the added bonus of scarlet leaves in the autumn.

G. renardii has soft, hairy foliage, an upright habit and white flowers with dark veins. It is quite unusual but absolutely lovely! G. cinereum is a dwarf variety which is ideal for alpine gardens, and G. x oxonianum is probably one of the oldest, most common varieties we have - ‘Wargrave Pink’ often growing in hedgerows near old cottages. One of the largest varieties is G. maderense, or the Madeira geranium, which grows to almost a meter tall when in flower. Unfortunately it is a biennial, and I advise anyone who has this stunning plant to collect the seeds.

There really are geraniums for every situation and are ideal when trying to cover a bank or a large crockery. They grow well under trees and are not too badly affected by sap. If the seed is collected they will germinate easily, though the clumps can also be divided in autumn or spring. Lastly, a good reason to incorporate geraniums into your garden is that they provide a veritable feast for pollinators!

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Self-care equals wellness

By Jill O’Donoghue from Killarney Toning and Beauty Studio Science supports time off and recharging as a means of reducing stress, improving productivity and living a healthier lifestyle. A wellness […]

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By Jill O’Donoghue from Killarney Toning and Beauty Studio

Science supports time off and recharging as a means of reducing stress, improving productivity and living a healthier lifestyle.

A wellness day can be a godsend in this scenario offering a place to relax, rejuvenate, reflect, detox, and pamper yourself while getting some much needed ‘me time’. Relaxing time is, more than ever, an important part of life. Seeking out health boosting treatments that work for you are essential for a healthier quality of life. As we have entered the dark cycle, it brings space for new beginnings. I used to struggle with this time of year and now I find I embrace the invitation, maybe age or wisdom! There can be a lot of cultural and habitual ways of thinking about tending to our needs that might need to be unpacked from our minds; that serving our needs is selfish, that expressing needs is not being grateful enough… that we should muscle through and get on with it…. that caring for your needs is indulgent.

One way we can start to get rid of some of these myths and move towards our needs is to spend time in nature; fresh air, walks, taking care of ourselves, to notice how we feel when we feel supported and nurtured.

Another way of unwinding is booking a holistic or beauty treatment which can be more beneficial than the end result. It can be the process of the letting go and having time for yourself. The relaxation helps improve circulation and lymphatic drainage which are all positive results from a little bit of self-care.

If you have never tried a hot stone massage, a Swedish massage, reflexology, a facial, pedicure or foot health now is the time to book. If you simply don’t know where to start then call Jill on 064 6632966 for advice.

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Activate’s pre-season programme for 2023

By Kayleigh Cronin from Activate Fitness   Want to gain a sharper edge this off-season and be a stronger, faster, and more powerful athlete in 2023? If the answer is […]

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By Kayleigh Cronin from Activate Fitness

 

Want to gain a sharper edge this off-season and be a stronger, faster, and more powerful athlete in 2023? If the answer is yes, then join Activate’s 2023 pre-season programme.

The majority of athletes will want to enter the pre-season:

– Fitter, able to withstand the hard sessions ahead
– Bigger and stronger, so they can handle and dominate the knocks, bumps and contacts
– With greater speed, so they can outrun the opposition.

That is where we come in.

Why Activate, Why Now?

Over the last number of years, the ‘season’ of any given sport has changed drastically. Now, amateur sports people are expected to train all year round as professionals do. The off-season used to mean putting your feet up, these days it means you can put yourself to (smart) work, honing in on any weaknesses in your armour. Athletes who choose to take it easy and not enhance their athletic performance are at an immediate disadvantage when the season begins.

It is often athletes who are most serious about their sport that are least likely to ‘take it easy’ during any stage of the season. They are often the ones who are first back to the gym or pitch after a season ends, usually with a generic programme in hand. These training programmes are usually given to every player on the team, regardless of any individual needs you may have and you are left to your own devices to get through it. Many athletes are willing, or do, put in the hard work that is required, but often the effort being put in is not transferring into the results that are deserved from the amount of work being put in.

If it was as easy as a generic training programme (mostly terrible .pdf docs), we’d see resilient, powerful and confident athletes everywhere come day one of the season. But we don’t because it’s not as simple as a tick box programme or finding the latest circus trick exercises on social media. Do we expect a goalkeeper to cover the same sprint distance as a corner forward in a match? No. Do we expect a corner back to cover the same total distance as a midfielder in a match? No. So why do we expect the same programme to work for every player, regardless of playing position, individual needs and so on?

Through testing and a needs analysis, we will determine what area of your individual game needs improvement and put a plan in place that will allow you to gain a sharper edge this off-season.
 

What Are We Offering?

We are offering an eight-week pre-season programme to any Gaelic footballer or general sport enthusiast. We are aware that some seasons are still ongoing, therefore the earliest start date is November 21, and the latest start date is December 12.

If you want to level up this year, you’ll want to consider having a fully integrated system for developing your athleticism. Allow us to put in place a system for you, working with a master’s qualified Strength & Conditioning Coach who has considerable inter-county playing experience, supported by some of the best in the business in S&C, Physiotherapy and Nutrition.

A system that ensures when it matters, you are ready.

Testing & Assessment
Gym
Conditioning
Recovery
Physio (if required)
Nutrition
Accountability
Support

For more information follow our Facebook page, or email me at kayleigh@activate.ie.

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