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More great choices for large shrubbery

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Following last week’s article on large shrubs, I received many comments, suggestions and questions, leading me to believe that there were quite a few people unsure of what to plant in a large space.

I felt at the end of the article there were definitely more plants for that list so here are some more great choices for the large shrubbery.

The bottlebrush, or Callistemon, is named appropriately for the shape of its flowers which are bottle-brush like spikes of many small flowers with long stamens, giving it that brush like appearance. Usually red, they are also available in yellow and pink. They flower in summer and into autumn adding a lovely splash of colour. Their leaves are hard and spiky with arching branches. Cut them back immediately after flowering or they will not flower the following year. If they do grow out of hand, they will tolerate a hard cut back.

Ceanothus, or the Californian lilac, is an often evergreen shrub bearing dark blue flowers. There are several sizes from the low creeping C. repens, to the tree like proportions of C. thyrsiflorus. An ideal candidate for the large border is C. ‘Gloire de Versailles’, which has large blue flowers from July to the end of autumn, (deciduous), or C. ‘Southmead’ which has dark blue flowers in early spring (semi-evergreen), or C. ‘Blue Mound’ which has deep blue flowers (evergreen). I find with all ceanothus that their flowering times seem to be very weather dependant!

Forsythia is a large common shrub which flowers early in spring before the leaves appear. I mention it as it seems to have gone out of fashion completely, though it adds such a fantastic yellow brightness in those dark February days.People often complain that it either grows out of all proportions or that it does not flower. If pruning, do so immediately after flowering. ‘Golden Nugget’ is possibly one of the smaller varieties at a natural five foot.

An unusual, but well worth finding plant is the Sorbus reducta. It is a low 1-1.5m type of mountain ash, with all the great features of its larger tree relatives! It forms a thicket – yes, it does sucker, but does not take over, has white flowers followed by dark red berries which fade to a creamy colour. Like most mountain ashes, its autumn colour is blazing!

Butterfly bushes, buddleja, are a much maligned plant as it can self seed and become a bit of a nuisance. However, it does not really self seed much in gardens where the conditions are not ideal, (ideal conditions – derelict, dry, stony waste land). Most cultivated varieties are sterile, so there is no reason to avoid them! B. colvilei is a very unusual variety, being semi-evergreen with large panicles of tubular dark pink flowers – these clusters can reach up to 20cm. B. davidii is the common butterfly bush and is available in a range of colours such as ‘Black Knight’, deep, deep purple, ‘Empire Blue’, blue flowers with orange centre, ‘Royal Red’, deep pink/maroon. One of my favourites is ‘Harlequin’ which has variegated leaves. There is a range of smaller butterfly bush available too; the ‘buzz’ series.

These remain compact, up to 1m, however their flowers are not quite as impressive! To remedy that, plant breeders have come up with a new variety – the ‘Rocketstar’ series. I have only just planted one, but it promises a diminutive 80cm with the same large flowers as large varieties have. If this plant does what its creators claim, it will certainly be a hit in my garden!

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Develop skills and improve employability

By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors Traineeships are developed and delivered on an ongoing basis by Education and Training Boards (ETBs) nationwide and are open to potential participants of all ages and backgrounds including school leavers, mature learners and those in or seeking employment. Developed in partnership with industry representatives […]

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By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors

Traineeships are developed and delivered on an ongoing basis by Education and Training Boards (ETBs) nationwide and are open to potential participants of all ages and backgrounds including school leavers, mature learners and those in or seeking employment.

Developed in partnership with industry representatives and employers, these programmes combine learning in the classroom with a minimum of 30 percent of learning on-the-job. The focus is on ‘learning on the go’ and developing perspectives that are in tune with the ever evolving world of work. They span across a range of industry sectors including business and retail, media, manufacturing, agriculture, horticulture and mariculture, care, construction, engineering, animal science, fashion and beauty, finance, ICT, hospitality, sports and leisure, and logistics.

At the core of the scheme is a strong collaboration with the ETBs in the provision of work-based learning opportunities on existing and new programmes. Traineeships lead to an award at Levels 4-6 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) and are between six to 24 months in duration. Over 75 programmes are available nationwide – although not all of them will be available nationally at all times – and the content, award and duration may vary. They are designed for flexible delivery to include online, face-to-face and blended learning.

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Second level or higher education students who are interested in participating in a Traineeship Programme should contact their local ETB, adult learners should contact the Adult Education Guidance Service through their local ETB, and jobseekers will be able to access information through their local Intreo Office or Local Employment Service. For those currently unemployed, a training allowance or income support may be available. You can check out the range of opportunities offered through Traineeships nationwide on www.fetchcourses.ie and more locally check out the www.kerrycollege.ie.

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, and Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She is also a Career Consultant – For details see www.mycareerplan.ie or follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Return to work courses

Answer: Springboard+ provides free higher education courses for people who are unemployed (or were self-employed) and those looking to return to the workforce. Courses are offered in different areas including Information and Communications Technology (ICT), medical technologies, cybersecurity, sustainable energy and financial services. The courses range from certificate to master’s degree level – Levels 6 […]

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Answer: Springboard+ provides free higher education courses for people who are unemployed (or were self-employed) and those looking to return to the workforce.

Courses are offered in different areas including Information and Communications Technology (ICT), medical technologies, cybersecurity, sustainable energy and financial services.

The courses range from certificate to master’s degree level – Levels 6 to 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). Most of the courses are part-time and last for one year or less, but there are some full-time courses.
You can access a free Springboard+ course, if you are getting a qualifying social welfare payment such as Jobseeker’s Allowance, Jobseeker’s Benefit or the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP). You can get a full list of qualifying payments for Springboard+ on citizensinformation.ie

If you are not getting a qualifying social welfare payment, you will have to meet the residency criteria for Springboard+.

You can also apply for a Springboard+ course if:

* You are a qualified adult of working age (under 66) on someone else’s social welfare payment
* You are signing for social insurance credits
* You are on an employment support scheme such as Community Employment (CE) or TUS

To apply for a Springboard+ course, you choose the course(s) you are interested in on springboardcourses.ie and apply online, following the instructions on the website. You can apply for up to 10 courses, but you can only take one course.

If you are getting a social welfare payment, you should notify your Intreo Centre or local Social Welfare Branch Office and check what further steps (if any) you need to take.
If Springboard+ doesn’t meet your needs, there are several other ways to go back to education.
_______________________________________________________________________

During COVID-19, you can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo. You can also get information and advice from:

Tralee on Tel: Call 0761 07 7860, Monday – Friday (10am-4pm)
The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

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