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The importance of watering in the morning during a heatwave

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Is it boring to start with a comment on the weather?

Maybe, but hasn’t it been great?! Everyone is in a good mood, we’re getting jobs done, like painting the house and fence and we can go to the beach.
However, it is also fantastic weather for blight, powdery mildew, blackspot, wilt, the list goes on.
So what does the gardener need to do in this weather? Well, watering is an obvious job, but as with everything, there is a right way and a wrong way.
All watering should preferably be done in the morning.
The reasons for this are twofold, first of all, the plants get a chance to take up the water before the heat of the day, and secondly, the water can permeate to the roots before evaporating.
There are those who say that water on the leaves will scorch them, but here the water will have evaporated before it gets a chance to focus the sunlight and cause scorching.
Alternatively, if schedules don’t allow for morning watering, the evening is okay too.
The problem with evening watering is that often leaves don’t get a chance to dry out and this leads to mildew and other fungi taking hold.
Another thing to think about when it comes to watering is amount. It may sound obvious, but giving enough is crucial.
Many people believe they are watering, when in fact all that is happening is misting, or run-off. To be technical, peat based compost is hydrophobic, meaning it repels water. This is why ‘wetting agents’ are added to compost.
Sand and topsoil mixed into compost have the same effect, in that they absorb water more easily. It takes a surprising amount of time and water before baskets and pots are saturated – the best way to water baskets is often to sit them in a bucket of water till they are wet through. Watering newly planted trees and shrubs is also very important, as their roots have not yet broken into the existing soil around them.
The easiest way to ensure you give them enough is by using a bucket per plant. Lawns also suffer in these dry times. Make sure you water for long enough that the water filters down at least ten centimetres, and also that you don’t cut the grass as short as you normally might. Raise the blade by a notch.
Potatoes are at risk of getting blight, so spray with a copper mixture to prevent this. If you have blight, cut the foliage back and burn it, or spray with something like Bayer’s Blight control. Your spuds will no longer be organic though.
Roses are susceptible to blackspot and mildew during times of warm, humid weather, and the only answer to this is make sure your plants are strong and healthy. Give them plenty of feeding, preferably manure, and make sure they are not stressed.
If they do get disease, Roseclear or fungus clear are really the only solution.

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Valuable role of Kerry cancer support charity recognised nationally

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Cancer support charity Recovery Haven Kerry has been recognised for its vital role in supporting cancer patients and their families at a national ceremony in Dublin.

The renowned cancer support house was one of 16 such centres across Ireland that were presented with plaques to acknowledge their full membership of the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) Alliance – a group made up of voluntary and charity organisations delivering support services directly to cancer patients and their families. An additional 10 associate member charities were also honoured, including Kerry Cancer Support Group.

The Alliance advocates for, and supports, the development of integrated pathways between the cancer centres, acute hospitals, community cancer support services and primary care services. All members’ development is in line with the values of Sláintecare, seeking to provide assurance to healthcare professionals that these organisations are working to an agreed standard as set out in Best Practice Guidance published by the NCCP. 

Speaking after the ceremony, which was held at Dublin’s Farmleigh Estate, Recovery Haven Kerry Chairman, Tim McSwiney, explained that being compliant with the Best Practice Guidance for Community Cancer Support Centres is a true mark of quality. 

“It offers us a yardstick to measure what we are doing against the standards required. As a result, healthcare professionals have more confidence in referring people to our services. We are very proud to be a member of the Alliance,” he said.

Recovery Haven Kerry was represented at the event by centre manager, Gemma Fort and Client Services Co-Ordinator, Siobhan MacSweeney and were presented with their plaque by NCCP Lead for Cancer Survivorship, Louise Mullen, Clinical Lead for Psycho-Oncology Dr Helen Greally, and Minister of State at the Department of Health, Colm Burke. 

The event was also used as an opportunity to announce funding of €3m for the NCCP’s Alliance of Community Cancer Support Centres and Services through Budget 2024. The NCCP is currently in the process of distributing these funds which will directly and positively impact the delivery of services for patients and families nationally.

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‘More Precious Than Gold’ book launch

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At the official book launch of ‘More Precious Than Gold: My enduring connection with John McShain – the man who built Washington’ by Alice O’Neill-McLoughlin at Killarney House, was Minister of State for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, T.D.

Alice was born the eldest of eleven children into an Irish farming family in Rosbercon, New Ross, County Wexford. In 1978, she was awarded a scholarship from John McShain- the iconic builder, philanthropist, devout Catholic with Derry ancestry, responsible for many famous American landmarks, including the Jefferson Memorial and the Pentagon.

Her book records the lifelong personal correspondence Alice exchanged with ‘The Man Who Built Washington.’ His philanthropy extended to the Irish people in the bequeathing to the State of Killarney House and the surrounding thousands of acres incorporating the Lakes, Ross Castle, and Innisfallen Island. In 2019, Alice had the honour of inducting John McShain into the Irish America Hall of Fame in her home town of New Ross in the presence of his relatives from Philadelphia and Derry. This is a tale of altruism, of gratitude, of faith and of a life lived in the pursuit of excellence.

Alice also donated her treasured correspondence of letters from John McShain for the archive at Killarney House. Also in attendance were Members of the Ignatius A. O’Shaughnessy family, who was founder of The Globe Oil and Refining Company – and part of a consortium of wealthy American businessmen who were going to purchase the lakes of Killarney as a Country Club in the 1950’s.

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