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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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Two Mile School “Says Yes to Japanese”

The pupils and staff of Two Mile Community National School were delighted to welcome Mr Norio Maruyama,  the Japanese Ambassador to Ireland on Tuesday. The Ambassador was at the school […]

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The pupils and staff of Two Mile Community National School were delighted to welcome Mr Norio Maruyama,  the Japanese Ambassador to Ireland on Tuesday.

The Ambassador was at the school to promote the teaching of the Japanese language and culture through the ‘Say Yes to Languages’ programme.

“The pupils in Two Mile were very interested to listen to stories about Japan and to learn about the links between our two countries,” said school principal Catherine Barry.
“As a multi-denominational school, we are very open to different languages and cultures and we look forward to working with the Japanese embassy from next September.”
Two Mile Community National School is the only multi-denominational school in the Killarney school district.

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 Photographer Anastasiia goes Out and About for Killarney Advertiser.

The Killarney Advertiser is pleased to announce that Anastasiia Garbera has joined the team. Anastasiia is a photographer from Ukraine. She has been living in Killarney for nearly two years […]

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The Killarney Advertiser is pleased to announce that Anastasiia Garbera has joined the team.

Anastasiia is a photographer from Ukraine. She has been living in Killarney for nearly two years and is trying to establish a freelance photography business.
“I love my job. I’ve been shooting for 11 years. I adore photography and connect my life with it. The best thing for me is to show girls and families, brides how beautiful they are. I think it’s my main mission.No need to be a model. We are all beautiful and special. You just need to build more self-confidence. And be sure, I will help you with it.”
Keep an eye out for Anastasiia as she goes Out and About for The Killarney Advertiser.
If you are organising an event and need a photographer email info@killarneyadvertiser.ie for more details.

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