Connect with us


Add heather for plenty of garden colour




By Debby Looney, gardening expert

Nothing provides more reliable colour and interest throughout the winter months than heathers. A forgotten about group of plants, they have gotten a bad rep for overgrowing their welcome.


It is true that if not looked after they become lanky, woody, brown, straggly and unsightly. The only reason heathers become ugly is because they need a severe trim after flowering every year. Miss a year and things start going wrong. After flowering, cut back all heathers to the point at which they started flowering. This does not really have to be done carefully, you can take a shears or even a hedge trimmer to them. This is the only attention they will need all year!

Heathers fall into two groups, Calluna, and Erica. Callunas are lime tolerant and recognisable as such by their leaves and structure. The leaves are smooth and soft, and their growth is upright. Ericas do not tolerate lime, and their leaves are more like needles. They do not grow as tall as Calluna types, and their growth is horizontal more so than vertical. I think heathers look best in a designated bed as they compliment each other. Having said that, they also work really well as a border edging, especially Erica varieties as they tend to stay lower and have a nice round growth habit. I have Erica ‘Kramer’s Red’ along the driveway, in winter it blazes purple and in summer it is a nice dark green. Perfect! They are also ideal planted under roses as they provide a nice bit of interest in the winter. I have recently started adding the to mixed perennial beds too where I think they look great when all else has withered. Heathers are ideal for banks too, and will tolerate wind and fairly dry soil. Yes, I am a fan of heathers!
Some varieties to try are: Calluna ‘Silver Knight’, beautiful mauve flowers on silver foliage. C. ‘Dark Beauty’ – the deepest of burgundy flowers on rich green foliage, the most striking of all the dark flowered ones. C. ‘Wickwar Flame’, lavender flowers on golden foliage, good contrast. C. ‘Theresa’, pink buds on golden foliage – looks like it glows! C. ‘Helena’ white buds on bright green foliage, a welcome break from the pink colours. C. ‘Bonita’ has crimson buds on amber foliage, very pretty. Erica varieties: E. ‘St. Keverne’ has bright pink flowers early in the autumn, compact growth habit. E. ‘Darley Dale’ pink, but foliage has white tips in the spring. E. ‘Eva Gold’ pink flowers, golden foliage. E. ‘Furzey’ dark pink flowers, pink tips in spring. E. ‘White perfection', pure white flowers, E. ‘Moonshine', lime green foliage with pale pink flowers, E. ‘Saskia', masses of rose pink flowers clustered at the end of the shoots, very showy!

There is a relatively new trend in Calluna types emerging, one of which sells under ‘the Girls’ range or ‘bud heathers'. These are usually two or three different colours in one pot. They are different plants put in together and I have noticed in the garden one colour usually takes over from the others. The problem with these is that if you are planting for pollinators they are useless as the buds do not open! They are also, in my experience, not very reliable repeat flowers. All heathers, except these bud heathers are excellent for pollinators. They provide much needed pollen in winter and spring, and it is a great idea to plant them near your apple trees and other fruit plants in order to get pollinators into the habit of visiting a certain area of your garden. All in all, there should be a spot for heather in anyone’s garden!

Continue Reading


Arrival of Born is great news for Killarney

One of Ireland’s leading fashion retailers is to open a major new store in Killarney next week. In what is a very significant and welcome commercial boost for the town, […]




One of Ireland’s leading fashion retailers is to open a major new store in Killarney next week.

In what is a very significant and welcome commercial boost for the town, fashion giant Born is to set up in a 4,734sq ft store at Killarney Outlet Centre.

The business will occupy the former Edinburgh Woollen Mills units, numbered 13 to 15, on the ground floor of the landmark commercial premises.

The bright and breezy new store will open at 11am on Thursday, April 6 with free goodie bags for the first 30 customers to make a purchase.

An added attraction is that there will be a sensational offer of 20 percent off everything on the opening day.

With a reputation for making fashion accessible and fun, Born opened its first premises in 2009 and now boasts 23 stores nationwide, as well as offering a top class online option.

Born is dedicated to bringing fabulous fashion at affordable prices to style conscious ladies and men who love to look great and offers the very latest trends for less.

Alongside popular brand names, Born will also specialise in their two in-house brands for ladies, Emily & Me and Luna, and their exclusive Phoenix brand for men ensuring that customers can pick up something different that no other high street store will have.

“We listen to our customers and deliver on style,” a spokesperson said.

“Each day we’re inspired to be the best we can. We are focused and committed on giving our customers the experience they deserve, both in-store and online.”

Killarney Outlet Centre Manager, Paul Sherry, said the arrival of Born is a great news story for Killarney and it will be a major attraction going forward.

“They see the huge potential in the town and it will give locals and visitors a whole new retail experience based on quality, choice and value,” he said.

Continue Reading


Proinsias says farewell to Gaelscoil after 33 years

By Michelle Crean For over three decades one face has been constant at Gaelscoil Faithleann but today (Friday) it all changes as the school’s first and only Principal to date […]



By Michelle Crean

For over three decades one face has been constant at Gaelscoil Faithleann but today (Friday) it all changes as the school’s first and only Principal to date says a fond farewell.

It’s a day full of mixed emotions for Proinsias Mac Curtain who was appointed the school’s Principal on September 1, 1989.

Today, the school’s 245 children and staff will host a number of events at the school for him which are sure to stir a few emotions.

It follows a special Mass on Innisfallen Island on Saturday morning as 150 children, staff members, parents council and Board of Management members boarded a boat for the occasion. And the location was apt as the school is called after the island, Proinsias explained to the Killarney Advertiser.

“It was lovely, it was meaningful as the school is called after Innisfallen Island. I’ve been blessed with the school community down through the years. It was a pleasure to work with school staff and parents, Boards of Management – but the most important is the children. I’m proud of them and their achievements. They are great children and I’ll miss them.”

He said the school will be in great hands as Lisa Ni Iarlaithe, who has been at the school since 1991, takes over as Principal.

He also praised the hardworking staff.

“I’ll miss it but I’m comfortable to step back as the school is in excellent hands.”

Proinsias is originally from Tournafulla Co Limerick. He began his career as a teacher in Scoil Iognáid in the centre of Galway city, the largest Gaelscoil in the country at the time.

Shortly before he died his father Jerry, who loved to holiday for a few days a year in Killarney, had heard of a new school opening here and phoned Proinsias to tell him. The rest they say is history.

He says his love of Irish language was inspired by Tournafulla Primary School Principal Liam O Loineacháin and in St Ita’s College Abbeyfeale by Jim Tierney and the late Johnny Nelligan.

And although three decades is a long time, Proinsias says it flew by and that he has seen many changes over the years. The first is seeing the children of former pupils coming to school. The second is the advancement of technology – some good and some not so good!

“The biggest change was the growth of technology, the changeover to the whiteboard and the use of devices which makes it challenging for parents. It’s wonderful you can access so much, but there are advantages and disadvantages.”

He added a huge thanks to his wife Karen who supported him down through the years when he was out late at meetings, adding that she was “very patient”.

He also thanked Sean O Luanaigh.

“He has been my chairperson since the start and has been such a tremendous support, help and guidance down through the years.”

In retirement he plans to spend more time with his family including his three children Ruadhán, Meadhbh and Cormac.

He also plans to get more involved in Beaufort Tidy Towns as well as the Annals of Innisfallen project.

“It’s always been an interest of mine. I also plan to relax for a few weeks, make more time for family, and I look forward to playing more trad music, bee keeping, gardening and travel.”


Continue Reading


Last News