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Campanulas are easy to grow

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By Debby Looney, gardening expert

We are spoilt for choice and colour at this time of year – perennials, annuals, shrubs, all come into their own. If we were to single out two, Alstroemeria and Campanula are real value for money.

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Alstroemeria are also known as Peruvian lilies, and until recently we really only saw them in floral bouquets. However, they are now available in abundance and are well worth investing in. Flowering freely throughout the summer, they come in whites, yellows, oranges, reds and pinks.

There are tall varieties and dwarf ones, those with red foliage, and those with variegated foliage. All do well in our weather, but do not like to be waterlogged in the winter. The dwarf varieties are fantastic for pots, staying at a height of about 15cm.

Campanulas are a well-known garden staple, and are available in every size and shape you may need. Tall varieties include C. latifolia, a broadleaved variety. It reaches up to five feet, and has very large blue or purple bells. C. alliariifolia is also a tall variety, with elegant spires of pure white bells. It is a beauty! C. trachelium is also tall with simple mauve flowers, but ‘Bernice’ is a bit shorter - 60cm - with masses of double mauve flowers. Its name, trachelium, derives from trachelos, meaning throat. It was once used as a remedy for sore throats. C. ‘Kent Belle’ is a very popular campanula grown in many gardens. It has large bells in a rich shade of purply-blue. C. persicifolia grows to 80cm and is possibly the truest blue of all campanulas. It has delicate bright green foliage. ‘Boule de neige’, is, as the name suggests, pure white and very pretty!

A mid-sized campanula is C. punctate, and two to look out for or rather seek out, are ‘Cherry Bells’ and ‘Pantaloons’. The former has rich burgundy bells, the latter double bells in mauve with purple spots gracing the bottom frill. C. glomerata is a popular choice also, bearing tight, globe shaped clusters of flowers.

Campanulas really come into their own as ground cover, rockery plants and wall plants. C. portenschlagiana is an old variety, one which is ideal for rockeries, and which self seeds and finds a stronghold in any crevice. It has rich deep blue cup shaped flowers and a mat forming growth habit. C. garganica is another low grower, with azure blue star shaped flowers. It is evergreen in Kerry.

In general, campanulas are easy to grow. They are native to alkaline regions within Europe, and I have noticed that adding a little horticultural lime produces better plants. I recommend horticultural lime as opposed to builders lime for only one reason – it is granulated and this has a slow release action. Builder's lime, being dust, leaches out of the soil fairly quickly.

Well-drained soil is essential, and sunlight is certainly preferable! Repeat flowering can be encouraged by cutting back the plant after flowering. If you are hoping to establish plants in a wall, it is best to plant them in the crevices in autumn, giving them a chance to establish before summer.

Most campanulas are sold when in flower, so be patient, buy the plants, repot into bigger pots, then in October divide them and put them into the wall for a spectacular show next spring!

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Flesk Fest promises to be a great evening of fun

By Michelle Crean Glenflesk GAA are planning a fun filled evening of top class entertainment. The Flesk Fest takes place on Saturday July 16 at 4pm in The Kerryway Steakhouse […]

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By Michelle Crean

Glenflesk GAA are planning a fun filled evening of top class entertainment.

The Flesk Fest takes place on Saturday July 16 at 4pm in The Kerryway Steakhouse & Bar.

Two exciting bands ‘All Folk’d Up’ and ‘Super Ceili’ will be playing and there’ll be plenty of fun and games and a delicious barbecue, raffle with some great prizes, and of course the ever popular Hang Tough Challenge!

“Please come out and support this great event! Tell your friends and we will make it a night to remember,” Seamus Healy from Glenflesk GAA said.

” Admission is only €15, and tickets are available from Mary McCarrick 087 7750773, Padraig O’Sullivan 087 0530384 or any club officer. They are also available in the Kerryway on the night.

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Rising cycling star selected for Belgium Project

By Sean Moriarty Killarney cyclist Sam Bolger (18) has been selected as one of four riders for the Belgian Project – one of the most prestigious stepping stones for Irish riders […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Killarney cyclist Sam Bolger (18) has been selected as one of four riders for the Belgian Project – one of the most prestigious stepping stones for Irish riders with ambitions to turn professional.

Northern Ireland-based Belgian Danny Blondell is the man behind the project.

For the last 15 years Blondell selects between four and six Irish riders and sends them to Belgium where they stay with local families and contest pro and semi-pro races.

As a race commentator Blondell is well placed to decide who is deserving of inclusion in the project.

Over the first six months of the year he makes decisions while attending early season races.

Those lucky enough to get selected go to live and race in Belgium for the second six months of the year.

Bolger, from Lewis Road, was selected after winning the junior race in the Cycling Ireland National Road Series in Mayo in March and the Orwell Stage Race in County Wicklow in June.

“He is delighted, it is a very big deal,” his father Paul told the Killarney Advertiser.

“He has had a very good year and the wins in Mayo and Wicklow secured the Belgium Project.”

Bolger will head to Belgium in late July and after to the Junior Tour of Ireland which takes place in County Clare between July 12 and 17.

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