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Adding colour and texture to your garden

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By Debby Looney, gardening expert

After a long winter of bare trees and boring evergreens, we all long for colour with flowers everywhere, and each available space filled with blooms.

However, if you are like me, once June comes around, the colour already becomes a bit much. But, it is there, the work in planting has been done, the expense of the plants has been spent, so there is nothing for it but to sit and enjoy it… or, in my case, regret the fact that I could not stop myself every time saw a pretty flower!

Last year I was very strict with myself and stuck to a theme. Initially, in spring, yellow is so cheerful which generally leads me to buy a lot of yellow daisies, begonias and bidens…and then, come summer, I think it all looks like the dandelions I am cursing in the garden! So, a plan was needed and pink was my theme. This year, I am going to incorporate a lot of foliage plants as breaking the colour will give a more peaceful, calm look to the whole garden. I am envisaging large, blue hosta leaves like those of ‘Elegans’, or ‘Blue Angel’ as a foil for cream coloured flowers such as Nemesia or viola. Fatsia will make a great backdrop for any colour with its glossy, dark green leaves. Bamboo and grasses also provide breaks from colour, while variegated grasses will add movement and limited colour.

Creating pots and garden displays with a mixture of greenery and flower allows the eye and mind to appreciate better what it sees, creating a much more coherent feel to any garden. Interspersing structural plants such as Fatsia, Canna, Acanthus or even banana plants will give the eye something to focus on, and conversely, will make what is around them much more significant. Large leaves will add this structure, whereas grasses, bamboos, miscanthus and smaller foliaged plants such as Diosma or some smaller acacia varieties, will add movement and gentleness.

Ferns are also a fantastic addition to summer pots. They come in a large selection of foliage shapes and colours, and are unfortunately often forgotten. Like hosta (though not variegated ones, as they will lose their variegation), ferns are ideal for a shady spot. Paired with fuchsia or begonias or busy lizzies, they are the ideal plants for west or north facing pots.

An alternative way to create cohesion in your pot display is by repeating plants and colours. Focus on one main flower, and one main filler. For example, I think cream coloured calendulas, which now also come as low growing spreaders, are ideal for filling gaps. Cream is a warm, yet neutral colour which retreats into the background allowing other colours to pop. White on the other hand tends to leap forward, and should be avoided as a background colour. There are many books and articles written on the theory of colour and texture, but if you stick to the ‘less is more’ rule, you cannot go wrong!

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Top awards for innovative students

By Michelle Crean Killarney students proved that their projects can make a positive impact after being honoured at the Young Social Innovators of the Year Ireland (YSI) Awards. The five […]

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By Michelle Crean

Killarney students proved that their projects can make a positive impact after being honoured at the Young Social Innovators of the Year Ireland (YSI) Awards.

The five members of ‘Operation Red’ in St Brigid’s Secondary School were celebrating this week after receiving a national Bronze Award for their project which is raising awareness about the lack of knowledge surrounding menstrual disorders. Their goal is to encourage open discussion on these issues, so no woman ever feels alone. The team will receive a prize bursary of €750, which can be put towards developing their idea and increasing the impact of their innovation.

Young Social Innovators is a non-profit organisation that believes in the power of youth. Its vision is to empower, equip and inspire young people to change the world for good. The girls’ project was one of 34 shortlisted from over 400 YSI groups around Ireland.

“As part of our project we’re in the process of developing resources for the SPHE classes in our school,” Transition Year student Anna Cashman told the Killarney Advertiser.

“We’ll try it here as a pilot project and branch out to other schools.”

She added that plans so far include educating students by putting an information booklet together using HSE and NHS advice.

“It’s important to have the right information as it’s a very under researched issue. We have had a positive response to it.”

Cait Fitzgerald Healy from YSI arrived to the school as a surprise to the group and presented the girls with their trophy towards the end of the online ceremony. There was huge excitement all round! Teacher and mentor Catherine O’Donoghue also received the ‘Let them Shine’ award for her involvement with YSI over the last five years.

MAKE OUR WORLD SAFER AWARD

Picking up the ‘Make Our World Safer Award’, a team from St Brendan’s College was recognised for its ‘One Punch Can Kill’ project, which aims to combat toxic masculinity and raise awareness amongst young men of the seriousness of ‘one punch attacks’.

When researching the issue, the team found that many perpetrators rarely reoffend and the percentage of male-on-male violence in society is extremely high. The group examined the route cause of the issue, which stems from a variety of factors, and wanted to raise awareness that spontaneous and random ‘one punch attacks’ can have serious and life-changing consequences.

Amongst its many actions, the team embarked on media outreach, designed and delivered student workshops, created a poster campaign, held an Anti Violence Week and is currently working on a children’s book in an effort to promote the important message that ‘One Punch Can Kill’.

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Pres footballers are in seventh heaven

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The St Brigid’s Presentation Second Year footballers were crowned County Junior B champions on Friday last following a superb seven-goal victory over Mercy Mounthawk Tralee in the Ballymac sunshine.

The girls hit the ground running, bagging two quick goals from the boots of Lily O’Shaughnessy and Niamh Cantillon.

The Pres defence was solid and dogged throughout and managed to keep Mounthawk from breaching their goal for the duration. Abby Cronin scored three goals and a point to torment the oppostion and Niamh Cantillon scored a second goal plus a point to keep the Killarney school well in front.

Further scores from Muireann Healy and a final goal from Lara O’Neill gave us a final score of 7-4 to 0-11.

It was an excellent performance from the entire team, including the substitutes who all played their part. Captain Eve Culhane proudly accepted the cup on behalf of the team, and St Brigid’s, at the end of the game and joyous celebrations followed.

Congratulations to all the players and to their trainers: Mr Counihan, Ms Healy and Ms Brosnan.

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