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Begonias liven up any display




By Debby Looney, gardening expert

While it is still early for planting out bedding plants, geraniums, petunias and the like, it is an ideal time for planning!

In the last few years, begonias have become very popular – understandably, as they flower well into the autumn, certainly until the first frosts. Their bright colours liven up any displays, though they really look their best when planted in groups of just begonias, as they tend to overcrowd smaller plants. There is still time to plant your own bulbs, which is a cost effective way to a grand display! Begonia corms are slightly unusual in that you plant the depressed, or dimpled, side up. Begonias are generally the last plants to be available in garden centres, as they are frost sensitive, and take quite a while to grow from the bulbs. I have mine sat since February in a warm(ish) shed, and not a sign of growth yet!

Trailing geraniums

For hanging baskets my favourites are trailing geraniums. I love the range of colours they come in, from white with pink stripes to burgundy and bright red. In my own schemes I always feel that they blend in with everything, not growing out of proportion but maintaining a nice tidy shape. Trailing geraniums are also called Ivy Leaf Geraniums, or Swiss Geraniums – though the Swiss ones have a smaller leaf and trail longer than the ivy leaved ones. Swiss Geraniums are quite difficult to come by, but absolutely worth it. The main reason I extol trailing geraniums is that they are weather proof, not drying out too much in the wind, and impervious to rain. The main reason I would say not to choose them is that perhaps they do not trail far enough to suit some displays. On the other hand, window boxes will be unlikely to topple with the weight! Surfinias, or trailing petunias, are the number one choice for length. Trailing quite a distance they give a beautiful show, but do need caring for. I always recommend a total feed as opposed to a tomato feed, as the foliage needs fertilising too. My go to is Phostrogen, as a feed I find it excellent, but there is such a range of feeds available now it would be difficult to try them all out! The Irish seaweed feeds are very rich in nutrients, and create jobs along the Irish coast, so definitely worth trying, and the likes of Miracle Gro has been tried and tested over the years too.

Surfinias never really feature around my house as I find they do not cope with the wind well at all, but they are second to none for colour!
Bacopa, with its pretty white, mauve and pink flowers is a great space filler, as is Bidens with its bright yellow daisies. Marguerites are great upright plants, benefiting from frequent feeding and dead heading. The pastel shades of daisies are a perfect foil for the brighter colours of petunias, lobelia or marigolds!

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Start clocking up those ‘Kingdom Kilometres’

With an increase in daylight hours there’s no better time to clock up the ‘Kingdom Kilometres’ on foot or by cycling along the county’s two new Greenways. The recently opened […]




With an increase in daylight hours there’s no better time to clock up the ‘Kingdom Kilometres’ on foot or by cycling along the county’s two new Greenways.

The recently opened Kingdom of Kerry Greenways between Tralee and Fenit and between Listowel and Abbeyfeale are already proving hugely popular with locals and visitors to Kerry.

Representatives of the tourism Industry, local public representatives, travel writers and influencers gathered in Kerry on Monday to experience the exciting new tourist attractions and welcome the arrival of the longer daylight hours as the clocks changed over to summertime.

Sarah Hanrahan, a social media influencer who posts about Irish travel and has more than 100,000 Instagram followers, described the experience.

“Ireland has some of the most amazing outdoor spaces. For a lot of my followers and other people, connecting with green spaces has become much more important to their overall sense of well-being as well as their health and fitness. It’s been really gorgeous to experience the Tralee to Fenit, and Listowel to Limerick Kingdom of Kerry Greenways; a fantastic trip sampling the warm hospitality of Kerry and a great reminder of the active holiday options that are right on our doorstep.”

The new purpose-built trails provide an accessible and inclusive experience for visitors of all abilities.

Mayor of Tralee, Cllr Mikey Sheehy and the Mayor of Listowel, Cllr Aoife Thornton, said that the greenways offer an exceptional recreational amenity for everyone to enjoy.

“The greenways are situated in some of Kerry’s most scenic landscapes and offer spectacular and safe off-road facilities for people of all ages to enjoy as the landscape comes into bloom. They also offer warm hospitality at the trail head towns of each route.”

Visit to find out more.


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St Patrick’s Day parade winners announced

Killarney Valley Classic and Vintage Club has won the sought-after overall award in recognition of their colourful and action-packed entry to this year’s St Patrick’s Day parade in Killarney. Delighted […]



Killarney Valley Classic and Vintage Club has won the sought-after overall award in recognition of their colourful and action-packed entry to this year’s St Patrick’s Day parade in Killarney.

Delighted club representatives were presented with the Seán O’Keeffe Perpetual Trophy – in memory of the former Mayor of Killarney and parade stalwart – at a gala presentation of prizes in the International Hotel, Killarney on Tuesday night.

The award for the Best Interpretation of the Theme, which was Killarney: Experience More, went to the Wander Wild Festival who received the Michael Courtney Perpetual Trophy which is dedicated to the memory of another former mayor of the town who spearheaded the annual St Patrick’s Day celebrations for many years.

The John ‘Killer’ O’Callaghan Perpetual Trophy for the Best Sporting Entry was won by Killarney Athletic AFC and the Peter Irwin Memorial Trophy for the Best Marching Group and Cultural/Arts Entry went to Millstreet Pipe Band.

The Best Sports Club was Spa GAA, the Best Children’s Group prize was won by Kilcummin Comhaltas and the Best New Entry was Killarney Rugby Football Club.

There was an international flavour to the Best Musical Entry which was scooped by the Glenridge High School Marching Band from New Jersey.

The prize for the Best Voluntary Group went to the Kerry Stars Special Olympics Club, the Best School Award went to the Fiona Crowley Stage School and the Best Activity Group was deemed to be Scorchers Cheerleading Club.

The Most Entertaining Entry went to the Killarney Tidy Towns group, the prize for the Most Original Entry was won by Liebherr Container Cranes and the Most Imaginative Entry in the parade was the Art House, Killarney.

The Most Stylish Entry prize was awarded to the Ukrainian community whose representative said they were delighted to play a part in Ireland’s national holiday and thanked the people of Killarney for the warm welcome they have received.

Other prizes presented on the night included the Best Window Display which went to Christy Healy’s on New Street who were celebrating 100 years in business on St Patrick’s Day, while the Europe Hotel and Resort won the Best Green-Themed Building prize.

The judges for the parade were Br Pat Lynch, Guardian, Franciscan Friary, Pam Brosnan, Killarney Musical Society and Denis McMahon.

The awards were presented by Killarney St Patrick’s Festival Chairman Paul Sherry, Mayor of Killarney Cllr Niall Kelleher, Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce Senior Executive Bridget O’Keeffe, and parade grand marshal Cathal P Walshe.

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