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The perfect hanging basket is easy to create




By Debby Looney, gardening expert

When the weather is as glorious as it has been this last week, where do you start?


The garden beckons, although, if I am honest, so do windows, floors and most other surfaces which come to light in the bright sunshine! However, this is a gardening column and not a householder's mope! So ... do you start with weeding, edging or mowing? Well, I would say, colour. We have had enough grey and now is the time for fun!

Starting in the borders, perennials are all showing signs of life. Don't worry if they seem slow, those in garden centres are generally cultivated in protective environments and are way ahead of their counterparts in the garden. Hardy osteospermums, campanulas, geraniums and aquilegias will all be showing colour. Invest now in lupins, penstemon, aconites and delphiniums, so they can really have a long growing season and give you months of colour. Most perennials enjoy sunshine and well drained soil, plants such as rudbeckia, echinacea and heleniums should be planted in such sites.

However, there are plenty of choices for the more common heavy, wet soils. Phyllis, or cape fuchsia, is a particularly hardy plant. Bearing long, tubular flowers in pinks, salmon or cream, it can grow to 1.2m high. It is semi-evergreen in the winter, and thrives in wind, wet and even shade. I recommend you give it a good trim every spring, both to encourage new, fresh growth, as well as keeping it in check. Astilbes are also ideal for trickier spots, their long flowering season of pale pink, crimson or cream plumes can brighten up any area. They will grow in the wettest of gardens, which makes them ideal for pond side planting too.


A question which I am asked every year without fail is how to ‘do a good basket’. The perfect hanging basket is easy to create if you follow a few simple guidelines. Using plastic or rattan type baskets will prevent them drying out very fast, and they are easier to manage. If you have wire baskets, I recommend coco liners. Always use a round piece of polythene (I usually cut a circle from the compost bag and use that) between liner and compost. You need not bother putting drainage holes in it – this way you prevent dripping when you water. Baskets dry out so quickly as they are open to all the elements such as sun and wind, however they rarely get rain.

For this reason using water retentive gel is helpful, but only to a certain extent. Diligent watering and feeding is key. Baskets contain so little compost yet support so many plants, that feeding is vital. Slow release fertiliser breaks down through dampness, however baskets dry out so often that it often does not get the chance to work properly. So, again, an all-purpose liquid feed is what I advise. Remember - avoid the temptation of too many plants in a basket! I find setting a theme is best when shopping for plants but it does not always stop me from buying too many though!



Three Peaks Challenge to raise funds for Down Syndrome Kerry

This year’s Three Peaks Challenge, organised by Killarney Cycling Club will raise funds for Down Syndrome Kerry. The June 15 event,  the only one day cycle event Down Syndrome Kerry […]




This year’s Three Peaks Challenge, organised by Killarney Cycling Club will raise funds for Down Syndrome Kerry.

The June 15 event,  the only one day cycle event Down Syndrome Kerry is associated with this year, promises to be a fabulous day of cycling and fun!.

The 100km route challenges the stronger cyclists and the 75km route gives cyclists the chance to become familiar with Moll’s Gap which is part of the Ring of Kerry route.
The cycle sets out from Killarney, heading out the Cork Road. The 75km route (one peak) turns right at Loo Bridge for Kilgarvan and onto Kenmare, while the 100km route, (three peaks) heads over the county bounds to Ballyvourney, onto The Top of Coom and then Kenmare. Both routes continue on over Moll’s Gap, passing through the picturesque Ladies’ View and back into Killarney, where all participants will be treated to a burger and drink at the finish line.

“We will guarantee plenty of laughs and refreshments along the way, there are two routes available; 100km or 75km, to meet all abilities, covering some of the most beautiful landscapes in Ireland. This is the perfect warm-up for anyone thinking of doing the Ring of Kerry cycle this year or anybody looking for a really well run sportive with great craic compulsory,” Chairperson of Killarney Cycling Club, Kevin Murphy.

All cyclists who register online will be entered into a raffle for some great spot prizes kindly donated by our sponsors, winners collecting their prize at the finish line.

Down Syndrome Kerry’s goal is to help people with down syndrome to make their own futures as bright and independent as possible by providing them with education, support and friendship every step of the way.
Funds raised from this cycle will help Down Syndrome to continue to provide vital services such as speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and job coaching to their members.
As Down Syndrome Kerry do not receive any government funding, they are totally dependent on your support to continue to make these services available to those who need them.
You can register for the cycle which is €40 for Cycling Ireland members, €20 for accompanied under 16’s on event master:-

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BAR 1661 is teaming up with Pig’s Lane for a night of cocktail mastery

BAR 1661, the winners of Ireland’s Bar of the Year 2022, are taking up temporary residency in Killarney’s first underground hotspot, Pig’s Lane for one night only on May 21. […]




BAR 1661, the winners of Ireland’s Bar of the Year 2022, are taking up temporary residency in Killarney’s first underground hotspot, Pig’s Lane for one night only on May 21.

The dynamic team at Dublin’s BAR 1661, who have recently taken their talents to venues in Sweden, London, and the famous Dead Rabbit Bar in New York, are now hitting the road to Killarney for an epic takeover event.

Staunchly Irish and fiercely independent, BAR 1661 have two goals in mind; to introduce the world to Poitín and lift Irish cocktail culture to fresh heights.
Headed up by their founder Dave Mulligan, the Dublin team will transform Pig’s Lane on College Street for one night only. Since opening just a few months ago, Pig’s Lane has been raising the bar in Kerry with its cocktails, whiskey and wine offering. Kicking off at 6pm, experience a curated selection of Poitín-infused cocktails, featuring a bespoke rendition of BAR 1661’s drinks menu.

The crew will also serve up their unique take on the classic Irish Coffee with their Belfast Coffee, steeped with cold brew coffee, top-quality Irish Poitín, and rich demerara syrup. Guests will be able to chat with the team, get some insider knowledge on how to elevate their own cocktail-making skills, as well as learn insider tips on how to blend flavours to satisfy their own palette.

Two-time World Championship Mixologist and Drinks Development Manager for the O’Donoghue Ring Collection and Pig’s Lane, Ariel Sanecki said of the upcoming takeover: 

“We are very excited to welcome one of Ireland’s leading bars, BAR 1661, for an exclusive collaboration with us here at Pig’s Lane. This takeover is a great opportunity for people to meet with innovative mixologists who will be crafting bespoke creations right in front of them! We look forward to welcoming guests on the night, to what promises to be an epic event, featuring premium drink producers and unforgettable flavours.”

Before the takeover starts, drinks aficionados can join Dave for an intimate Poitín Masterclass. Attendees are invited to explore the diverse landscape of Poitín, accompanied by fascinating insights into its vibrant history and contemporary revival.


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