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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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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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