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Large shrubs are easy to care for

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By Debby Looney, gardening expert

There is a whole group of plants which form the backbone of any garden, which need little care once planted, but are of great use to the new gardener.

These plants form the ‘shrubbery’ - that place in many large gardens where plants are put and forgotten about, but which give a good display and add interest to the garden. However, for a beginner, the question of what goes into these large beds, these places which you fill ‘down at the bottom of the garden’, can be quite a daunting one!

So I thought I would arm readers with a list of large shrubs which will grow in just about any condition, are easy to care for but are still attractive and worth having. These plants are generally not for small gardens as they will grow to about 1.5m x 1.2m.

An old favourite in many gardens is the Weigelia. It is deciduous with trumpet shaped flowers in summer. W. variegate has lovely brightly variegated cream and green leaves with pale pink flowers, ‘Eva Rathke’ has dark green leaves with deep crimson buds opening to dark pink flowers, and ‘Looymansii aurea’ has golden leaves with pale pink flowers. Weigelia middendorffiana is a little unusual and more difficult to find, but has beautiful yellow flowers with deep red throat markings reminiscent of a rhododendron. These all flower best in a sunny site.

There are many Berberis varieties, but Berberis ‘Rose Glow’ is ideal for any large border. It has deep purple foliage but the new shoots are bright pink flecked with white giving it its glowing name. B. Aurea has golden foliage, and B. ‘Helmond Pillar’ has red-purple foliage and a columnar habit.

Another ideal purple foliaged plant is Physocarpus ‘Diabolo’ which really will grow in any condition adding height and width to a large border. It does have flowers, the buds of which are pink opening to cream, but it is its foliage and tall arching branches which make it a winner! P. ‘Dart’s Gold’ has golden foliage, and is equally attractive in its own sunny way.

Philadelphus, or mock orange, is a plant which should be in everyone’s garden. It has white flowers which are highly scented. P.’Lemoinei’ is an excellent variety, a strong grower and tolerant of wind and cold. It has single, white flowers. ‘Boule d’Argent’ has double flowers and is also very reliable. There is a lovely miniature, albeit spreading, Philadelphus suitable for a smaller garden, growing to about 60cm, called ‘Manteau d’Hermine’. It is very easy to grow also. ‘Belle Etoile’ is probably the easiest to find and will reward you with masses of fragrant white flowers.

A great evergreen shrub is Drimys lanceolata. In early spring it has clusters of creamy coloured, insignificant flowers – which are a haven for bees and pollinators at that time of year. I never realise mine is flowering until I walk past and hear the buzzing! The leaves are deep green, glossy and leathery, but the shoots are a bright to deep red, making it quite striking. This is an ideal plant for flower arrangers as its stems are so unusual.

As usual, I have run out of space, but next week I will continue this list of useful, hardy, low maintenance staples!

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The tax you’re really paying for your health

By Brian Foley from Activate Fitness With the budget just squared away, there’s always an air of “how did I do out of it?” In Ireland, we enjoy a public healthcare system which is touted to become a universal healthcare system. Maybe “enjoy” is the wrong word. We have it, and we use it, and, […]

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By Brian Foley from Activate Fitness

With the budget just squared away, there’s always an air of “how did I do out of it?”

In Ireland, we enjoy a public healthcare system which is touted to become a universal healthcare system. Maybe “enjoy” is the wrong word.

We have it, and we use it, and, of course we pay for it. We justify the constant ratcheting-up of our tax burden to pay for rising health-care costs. That tax is on our wallets.

We also pay another type of tax: When we’re unhealthy, we don’t get to do the things we like. When we’re overweight, we don’t always say “YES!” when our kids ask to go to the swimming pool.
When we’re unfit, we don’t take our buddy’s invitation for a weekend hiking and camping trip. We can’t start jogging because our knees hurt; can’t lift weights because our back hurts; can’t cut down calories because we feel we need the energy.

Those things are taxes. Physical taxes, but they’re not the worst taxes we pay.

The worst tax we pay is the mental tax.

When we’re self-conscious about our fitness or health, we don’t want to start exercising. We don’t want to look dumb or fail.

We don’t want to start a new lifestyle because our families will say “good for you”, because they know we need it, or they’ll say “you don’t need that …” and lie. Or they’ll roll their eyes because they know we’ve failed before.

When we’ve been away from the gym for four months, we don’t want to do that first workout because we’re going to be last. It’s going to suck and we might get embarrassed.

SELF IMPOSED TAX

The Government makes us pay financial tax, but the other two – physical and mental – are self-imposed.

No one cares if you’re slow.

No one cares if you finish last.

No one cares if you blow your nutrition this week and have to start all over again.

You’d stop caring about what others thought about you if you realised how rarely they actually do.

Everyone thinks about themselves, mostly. That’s the tax they’re paying – and most of us overpay.

We’re taxed enough. Stop worrying about what you look like and start caring about what makes you feel good.

If you’d like to start taking steps in the right direction with your health and fitness, call in for a free consultation with us at Activate. Visit www.activate.ie/free-intro for more information.

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Serums give your skin a much needed boost

By Jill O’Donoghue from Killarney Toning and Beauty Studio Serums are much loved for their great results and concentration of active ingredients. Moisturisers tend to have five to 10% of active ingredients, while serums can contain anything up to 70%. They have more targeted results such as firmness, reduced wrinkles and hydration, helping acne, oily […]

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By Jill O’Donoghue from Killarney Toning and Beauty Studio

Serums are much loved for their great results and concentration of active ingredients. Moisturisers tend to have five to 10% of active ingredients, while serums can contain anything up to 70%.

They have more targeted results such as firmness, reduced wrinkles and hydration, helping acne, oily skin etc. Serums are easily integrated into your skincare routine. They absorb in to the skin quickly allowing immediate application of day or night cream, so no excuses. It won’t add any extra time to your skin care routine. It is very important to apply day or night cream to lock in the active ingredients and protect your skin. Serum will give your skin a much needed boost depending or your requirements and skin concerns.

There are so many Sothys serums available, but the newest one is truly amazing. Sothys LC Lactic dermobooster serum with 10% lactic acid, is the safest and most effective amount of lactic acid to use on your skin. It’s essential to wear SPF when using lactic acid products.

It helps to brighten the complexion, diminish the appearance of dark spots and preserves the youthful radiance of the skin. This serum defends, uses peptides to detox, and provides antioxidants to neutralise free radicals that can otherwise damage skin. The serum brightens and rejuvenates by 10% glycolic acid to stimulate the natural renewal process.

Glycolic acid is an Alpha-Hydroxy acid that exfoliates dead skin cells and eliminates acne causing bacteria, detoxes the skin with peptides, encourages brighter, renewed skin with glycolic acid. Neutralizes free radicals with antioxidants.

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

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