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Bring the outdoors in with flower arranging

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By Debby Looney, gardening expert

Outside is not really my favourite place to be when the winter arrives. I could say I am beginning to feel my age, but if I’m being honest, I am definitely a fair weather gardener!

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That is not to say I don’t feel the need to have plants around me! Apart from houseplants, another great way to bring the outdoors in is flower arrangements. Over the years, this hobby has broadened my knowledge of plants, flowers, and artistry. Colour combinations and shapes can be done on a small scale - a bowl for example, – and copied on a much larger scale in the garden. I find this especially with colour schemes.

For gardeners it is also a relatively cheap hobby. If greenery is varied and plentiful, you can create beautifully intricate arrangements with a minimum of flowers. However, varied foliage can be a study in texture. Or, alternatively, silk/artificial flowers can be combined with real greenery to great effect.

There are some ideal plants to grow if you feel this might be an appealing hobby – if not, the following plants will add variety to the winter garden!

Choisya ternata, also known as Mexican orange blossom, has shiny fresh green leaves in groups of three, with a gorgeous scent. There is a golden version available called Sundance, but the green variety is a stronger plant. They like semi-shade and grow to about one metre.

Helleborus, or Christmas rose, is a low growing plant which has large dark green three lobed leaves. This beautiful perennial will flower mid-winter, adding cheer even before snowdrops make an appearance. Pittosporum ‘Silver Queen’, a large shrub with small silvery leaves and dark, almost black, bark.

‘Tom Thumb’ is a dwarf variety with small burgundy leaves. Its new growth is bright green which contrasts beautifully with the deep burgundy foliage. ‘Golfball' has smaller leaves, silvery, and keeps to a small dome shaped plant.

Pieris japonica is a great plant for flower arranging. Its leaves grow in whorls with a good space between each group. They cover a lot in an arrangement! The flowers are also excellent for lasting. ‘Forest Flame’ is probably best known for its bright pink new foliage but there are many varieties to choose from. ‘Christmas Cheer’ flowers at Christmas time and ‘Little heath’ is a dwarf variety. ‘Valentine’ flowers red in February and is surprisingly hardy.

Viburnum tinus, harryanum and davidii are all great foliage plants. Viburnums, both evergreen and deciduous are among my favourite plants. They are hardy, trouble free and happy plants, which almost all do well in any kind of soil.

Corylus contorta, or the corkscrew hazel, is a deciduous plant but its stems are twisted and grow in fantastic shapes. There are catkins in the spring, to which some people are allergic. However, the stems are ideal instead of a Christmas tree to hang baubles from, or at Easter for an Easter tree.

Ozothamnus ‘Sussex Silver' is an ideal plant in exposed or seaside areas. It has long stems, and an evergreen, silvery foliage reminiscent of heather. If cut back hard each year, it remains fresh and bright. It is a super plant for adding height to floral arrangements and colour to the garden.

Fatsia japonica, also known as Aralia, has large five lobed leaves. ‘Spider’s web’ has white mottling in the leaves. These are grown as houseplants in many regions, but we are lucky to be able to grow them in a sheltered spot.

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Soroptimists fundraising efforts not “hampered” by COVID

By Michelle Crean COVID didn’t “hamper” their efforts this year as members of the Killarney Soroptimist Club came together and gave generously to charity. Members of the group couldn’t hold normal meetings this year due to the ongoing restrictions but pulled together to continue supporting a women’s aid countywide service. Along with family and friends […]

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By Michelle Crean

COVID didn’t “hamper” their efforts this year as members of the Killarney Soroptimist Club came together and gave generously to charity.

Members of the group couldn’t hold normal meetings this year due to the ongoing restrictions but pulled together to continue supporting a women’s aid countywide service.

Along with family and friends they created Christmas hampers for the third year running and donated them to the ADAPT Centre in Tralee on Tuesday.

There, they presented them to Catherine Casey, who is the Manager of ADAPT Women’s Refuge Centre.

“It is wonderful to be in a position to donate these Christmas hampers to ADAPT once again this year,” Killarney Soroptimist Club President, Teresa Irwin, said.

“Due to COVID and not being able to hold normal club meetings we were unsure what we could manage. We are thrilled with the response since we decided to go ahead and amazed at the generosity and the number of hampers. We wish to thank all those that donated. Hopefully the residents of ADAPT will enjoy them.”

Catherine said that they were once again very grateful to all the members of the Killarney Soroptimist Club.

“We recognise that there is a lot of organising and work done by the Club President Teresa Irwin and all the members in collecting and putting the hampers together. It is heartwarming to see the support and generosity of the club. ADAPT Kerry and the Killarney Soroptimists have built a very good relationship over the last number of years and they have lead many campaigns to highlight our service in the Killarney area, including taking part in the ‘Safe Homes, Safe Communities’ initiatives. There is no doubt that their work raises awareness of our service and has contributed to many more women making contact with us for support by phone, through our outreach service and availing of refuge.”

If you would like to talk to ADAPT Kerry please ring 066 7129100 anytime.

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Time to get your Santa letters posted!

We hope you have your Christmas letter written – and checked it twice – because Santa is waiting for it to be posted! And thanks to the Christmas in Killarney committee it’s now so much easier to get it to him with the special Santa post box on College St. just outside Lana. His elves […]

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We hope you have your Christmas letter written – and checked it twice – because Santa is waiting for it to be posted!

And thanks to the Christmas in Killarney committee it’s now so much easier to get it to him with the special Santa post box on College St. just outside Lana.

His elves will collect the post every night at midnight and bring them straight to the North Pole.

After taking part in the magical parade in town on Saturday evening, Santa spoke to the Killarney Advertiser and said he is so excited to deliver the toys later this month.

“Season’s Greetings to everyone,” Santa said.

“I would like to remind all the boys and girls in Killarney and Kerry to write and post their letters to me as soon as possible. They can use the green post box on College St and my elves will collect the letters every night when everyone is asleep! I can’t wait to get in my sleigh and deliver all the fantastic presents on Christmas Eve. Remember, be good, the elves are watching!”

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