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Add heather for plenty of garden colour

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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.

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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!

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Killarney man to launch second Irish history book

By Sean Moriarty Killarney native Patrick O’Sullivan Greene will launch his second book in the Great Southern Killarney on December 2. O’Sullivan Greene explains Éamon de Valera’s mission to gain […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Killarney native Patrick O’Sullivan Greene will launch his second book in the Great Southern Killarney on December 2.

O’Sullivan Greene explains Éamon de Valera’s mission to gain recognition for the newly formed Irish republic in New York in 1919 in his latest book ‘Revolution at the Waldorf: America and the Irish War of Independence’.

Without American recognition and funding the young Irish Government was sure to fail against the might of the British Empire and the book tells the story of how de Valera and Ireland-based Michael Collins – much to the defiance of the British authorities at Dublin Castle – got the new State off the ground.

O’Sullivan grew up in New Street and is now based in Beaufort after a career in finance took him all over the world including Dublin, London, New York and France.

“Killarney is the natural place for me to launch the book,” he told the Killarney Advertiser.

“There will be an interesting mix of people there.”

O’Sullivan Greene published his first book, ‘Crowdfunding the Revolution: The First Dáil Loan and the Battle for Irish Independence’, in 2020.

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Caring group craft charity blankets

By Michelle Crean One community group have shown that they care deeply for others by crafting handmade blankets for charity. Using their range of skills and some colourful wool, members […]

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By Michelle Crean

One community group have shown that they care deeply for others by crafting handmade blankets for charity.

Using their range of skills and some colourful wool, members of Kilcummin Community Care worked together to make blankets for service users on the Kerry Cork Cancer Health Link Bus.

“Each blanket is assigned as a personal gift to the clients using the Cancer Link Bus and is kept by them,” Kate Fleming, Chairperson of Kilcummin Community Care, said.

The knitting of the squares to make the blankets began at a gathering in the Rose Hotel in 2018. It was a gathering of different volunteer groups.

The Kerry Cork Cancer Health Link Bus were requesting knitted squares to make blankets for the clients who were using their facilities, she explained.

“Kilcummin Community Care were knitting at the time, so it was decided to help out this worthy cause. We received donations of wool from people in the parish and surrounding areas. Kilcummin ICA also got involved in the efforts.”

During the two years of COVID-19, members of both organisations continued to knit and are still knitting to the present day.

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