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There’s plenty of jobs to do in the garden

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By Debby Looney, gardening expert

It seems that the longer the days get, the bigger the list of jobs in the garden gets!

Everything, including weeds, is experiencing a growth spurt. While, in principle, I am against using pesticides and herbicides, sometimes exceptions can be made for example, the gravel drive! There are a few products available which prevent regrowth, Weedol ‘Pathclear’, ‘Premazor’ and Resolva granular ‘Weed preventer’, all have enzymes which prevent seeds from germinating, giving you at least six months control.

Conifers always look their best at this time of year, especially those with brightly coloured shoots such as Picea 'Daisy’s White'. Top of the list, for me, has to be Abies koreana, a beautifully shaped conifer, with bright green new growth and bright purpley-blue cones. It is a slow grower and suitable for medium sized gardens as a specimen. Herbaceous plants are all making an appearance, and Candelabra Primulas are spectacular now, with their tall spikes of multi-coloured flowers. They grow particularly well in moist shady areas of the garden, and they are slug resistant.

For some weeks now bedding plants have been available, but to my mind it has been too early to plant them out. However, with the month turning and the weather heating up, it is safe enough to start planting out the bedding. Do keep an eye on the weather forecast and cover any annuals with garden fleece, or even some hessian.

Planting pots

There is a fantastic range of pots available to the gardener, ranging from enormous glazed pots, to very affordable high quality plastic ones. My favourites are still the basic terracotta pot, as I love the way they age. There are pots to suit every situation, from square fibreglass ones in which topiary looks stunning to brightly coloured stackable pots. When planting pots, we have always been told to put some drainage in the bottom, such as gravel. This works quite well, but the new way of thinking is to omit any drainage. When water draining through the pot suddenly finds itself with nothing to cling to, that is, when it hits the “drainage”, it actually stops moving downward, and in a bizarre way causes waterlogging! So, save yourself the trouble, and put your compost straight in! Mix in some water retaining gel, and slow release fertiliser, then water the pot before planting. The gel will swell so you can gauge whether you have put in enough compost. As a rule of thumb, I find three patio plants such as surfinias or bacopas, in a 14 inch basket is plenty. Fill in any gaps with trailing lobelia, or other bedding in trays. If you put too much into a basket or pot, the result will be some of the plants dying due to lack of space!

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Killarney Triathlon Club’s open water swim on the lake

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On Tuesday evening last, members of the Killarney Triathlon Club took part in a breathtaking open water swim, starting from Dundag Beach and spanning the middle lake to a nearby island. Covering a distance of approximately 1.5 kilometers, the event saw all participants return safely, basking in a well-deserved sense of accomplishment.

Set against the stunning backdrop of Killarney National Park, swimmers enjoyed views of woodlands,  mountains, and Muckross House. Safety was paramount during the swim, as it is in all the club’s events. Essential precautions included the use of tow floats, safety kayakers, and safety boats, ensuring the well-being of all participants.

“Our club is incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by such a beautiful environment,” said Caitriona Shanahan, PRO of Killarney Triathlon Club. “The views during our swims are truly spectacular, and the safety measures we implement help everyone feel secure and enjoy the experience.”

Killarney Triathlon Club offers numerous benefits to athletes of all levels. These include structured training programs, expert coaching, group workouts and more. 

“We welcome all levels and abilities. Joining our club not only improves physical fitness but also offers great fun and the added benefits of stress relief from sea swimming. There truly is nothing like the calming effect of a group swim in the sea.” Caitriona added.

For those interested in joining the Killarney Triathlon Club, more information can be found on their social media platforms and their website, Killarneytri.com.

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Danny Healy-Rae welcomes decision to push back changes for cataract payments

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The Health Service Executive has deferred a move to cut the price it reimburses people for cataract treatments in the European Union and in Northern Ireland, under its overseas treatment schemes and a separate system for the North.

The prices were due to change from the start of this month, but the HSE has pushed the date back so that no one is disadvantaged, and to fully communicate with patients, treatment consultants and providers, cost changes will not come into effect until September 1.

The payments for less complex eye treatments were due to fall from €1,912 to €863 or the National Health Service equivalent of £766 in Northern Ireland. The most common cataract procedure payments were due to reduce from €1,456 to €1,171.

The HSE said that the vast majority of procedures fall into this new payment price. It said that the more complex glaucoma/cataract treatment payments will rise from €1,912 to €4,206.

Danny Healy Rae welcomed the news saying, “Following my representations and raising of this matter in the Dáil, I am glad that the HSE have agreed that they will continue to reimburse the higher rates for cataract procedure for those carried out up to the end of August 2024.

“I am advising anyone who needs to have their cataracts removed to do so now before the change to reimbursement amounts comes in.”

All cataract treatment carried out in Belfast after the 1st September 2024 will be subject to the new DRG rates.

Honouring the Kerry women of the revolutionary period

Kerry County Council is to invite expressions of interest next week for the commissioning and development of a commemorative and artistic piece which will honour the role played by women in Kerry during the revolutionary period between 1912 and 1923.

The project follows a joint motion by the five female members of Kerry County Council who called for the development and commissioning of a meaningful and lasting commemorative piece which would reflect the significant and diverse roles and activities of women and their involvement in the campaign for Irish Independence at the beginning of the twentieth century.

A Working Group, including the five female councillors, has been developing a design brief, and the Council intends to publish a detailed brief for the memorial next week and expressions of interest will be invited.

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