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Keep indoor plants out of full sun

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By Debby Looney, gardening expert

I was sitting in the dining room looking out at the garden through sheets of rain, when something caught my eye; a dead plant.

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I shifted my focus, looked around me, and observed quite a few plants close to the point of no return! Indoor plants are easy to forget about, especially when the weather is fine. It is hard to believe but several spider plants, an orchid and a Saintpaulia ended up on a certain compost heap this week.

Houseplants do not need a huge amount of care during the summer months, but there are a few things we must not forget! For example, the most obvious is watering. This is the main growing season for houseplants, so watering is essential as is adding some fertiliser. I use specific feeds for my plants, as the balance of nutrients needed can vary hugely depending on the type. As you can imagine, a large, leafy plant will have different requirements to, say, a cactus, or a gerbera. Most plants prefer to dry out slightly between watering, though not as much as I had let them dry out.

Most indoor plants prefer to be out of full sun as they scorch easily. In particular, leafy plants are susceptible to this. Cacti and succulents are ideal for south facing windows during the summer months. Move any leafy plants to a spot away from south facing windows where they can enjoy a more stable temperature and a slightly shaded light.

Often when plants are under stress, both indoors or outdoors, they become prone to disease, a bit like ourselves. For example, plants which dry out frequently are a prime target for whitefly. They often go unnoticed until there is an infestation, at which point you will see woolly cocoon like clusters, as well as clouds of tiny white flies. Blackfly and greenfly are also common pests indoors. The best course of action, after prevention, is to spray the plant at regular intervals with a pesticide. As it is indoors, I would strongly recommend the use of organic spray, or even soapy water. Alternatively, use a pesticide which can be watered onto the soil, such as ‘bugclear ultra’, as this will have a systemic effect.

This time of year is also suitable for repotting your houseplants, if not done in spring, as they will still get a few months of benefit and strong growth. I mix my own compost as I generally have quite a few to repot. I mix four parts good quality compost, one part sharp sand, one part perlite and one part vermiculite by volume. When repotting cacti and succulents I reduce the compost to two parts, and when repotting orchids, I substitute the vermiculite and perlite with two parts fine bark mulch. I never use homemade compost, as I find there are a lot of insects and ‘other creatures' in it which is fine used outdoors, but I don’t want to invite too much wildlife inside! It is possible to sterilise homemade compost by steaming it, but this is quite an operation, one which I have never undertaken. Alternatively, there are specialist composts available for every type of houseplant. When repotting, use a pot which is about two sizes bigger, unless the plant is a very vigorous one.

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How to have the best skincare routine at home

By Jill O’Donoghue from Killarney Toning and Beauty Studio Home care is essential for glowing, youthful skin. It’s like brushing your teeth, it must be done twice a day. Step […]

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By Jill O’Donoghue from Killarney Toning and Beauty Studio

Home care is essential for glowing, youthful skin. It’s like brushing your teeth, it must be done twice a day.

Step one: Cleanse to remove sweat, oil, dirt and other pollutants that your skin naturally collects throughout the day and night. It’s the first step in your skincare routine and shouldn’t be rushed.

How to do it; Cleanse your skin in the morning and in the evening to keep your pores clear and your face fresh. Your cleanser may vary based on skin type, but with all cleansers, the general consensus is to apply them using an upward, circular motion so as to prevent wrinkles from forming. Make sure your hands are clean in order to prevent excess dirt from entering your pores.

Step two: There is a lot of confusion around toner, and when you’re first establishing a daily skincare routine, it may even seem unnecessary. But most experts agree that toning is an important addition to your skin care routine with beneficial effects for your skin. After you cleanse your skin of impurities, toner removes any residue left behind by the cleanser as well as any make-up or oils your cleanser might have missed. The added cleansing effects help prepare your skin to absorb moisturiser and minimise the appearance of pores. Some toners may have PH balancing and antiseptic effects as well. Apply toner right after you have cleansed your skin while it is still damp. The best way to apply it is with a cotton pad or cotton ball, simply soaking cotton pad with toner and wiping upward and out, starting at your neck.

Step 3: Exfoliate. Our skin is constantly shedding millions of skin cells every day, but sometimes those cells can build up on the surface of our skin and need some extra help to be removed. Exfoliating removes these dead skin cells that have accumulated in our pores. If you struggle with blackheads, acne or breakouts, you’re not going to want to miss this step.

It’s best to exfoliate after toning and before moisturising. You should exfoliate one to three times a week, but this depends on your skin type and how it reacts to exfoliation. Experiment and find what works best for you. There are chemical exfoliators and granule exfoliators such as your traditional sugar or salt scrub. Both can be effective tools for removing dead skin cells, but chemical exfoliating ingredients like AHA and BHA are often more effective in getting deep into your pores and removing buildup.

Properly cleansed skin will allow your next steps e.g. serums and moisturisers get to the right layers of the skin where they will be most effective.

For a skincare consultation or more advice just ask Jill on 064 6632966.

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Annual Christmas motorbike charity road run launched

The Kerry Bikers are hosting their annual Christmas Bike Run on December 18. The event will raise funds for St Francis’ Special School at St Mary of the Angels in […]

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The Kerry Bikers are hosting their annual Christmas Bike Run on December 18.

The event will raise funds for St Francis’ Special School at St Mary of the Angels in Beaufort and Eagle Lodge in Tralee.

Now in its sixth year, the run, which is organised by an amalgamation of several Kerry motorcycle clubs under the banner of Kerry Bikers, will visit Killarney.

The run gets underway at 10.30am from Tralee. The first stop off is in Sheahan’s Centra on the Muckross Road where the Tralee group will be joined by local motorcyclists before setting off on a yet to be decided route.

“We will announce the route in Killarney. Last year we went to Killorglin, Farranfore and Castleisland. This year Abbeyfeale and Listowel may be in reach and if so we will make donations to Nano Nagle Special School too,” organiser Dave Foley said.

Over one hundred motorcycles are expected to take part in the run. Last year the full convoy measured 1.6km from start to finish.

“We hope to exceed that this year,” added Foley

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