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The variety of grass

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One family of plants which you would think will grow better than any here in Kerry, would be grasses…

However growing grass which is not indigenous can be tricky. Most grass such as Pennisetums, those of the ‘cat tail’ flowers, enjoy warm, sunny weather, with well drained, light soil. I find that many of the showy Pennisetum, such as P. rubrum, (reddish foliage with purple flowers), Hameln, (green foliage, creamy flowers) or ‘Buttons’, (grey foliage, purple button shaped flowers) really need a long, sunny summer to produce good numbers of flowers and attractive foliage.

Autumn colour also depends on light condition.

Any Pennisetum I have grown in my garden has not really survived the winter, however, those I grow in pots along a south facing wall do very well. I think they are particularly effective if used as a seasonal plant mixed with bedding.

Festuca is a more resilient grass, doing a little better in our wet winters. Festuca also abhors waterlogged soil, and prefers a site in full sun. Festuca glauca is a steely blue, achieving its best colour in a very sunny spot.

Stipa is a good grass for most gardens, Stipa’s ‘pony tails’ has pretty curled foliage and masses of fluffy flowers. Stipa gigantica has elegant flowers which can reach up to 2m, though the foliage only grows to 60cm.

Hakonechloa macra is also very tolerant of wet winters. It is a low growing grass which is evergreen, with a lovely fresh, limegreen colour.

All grasses prefer well drained soil, and most like the sun. Many look attractive in the winter, even as they go brown, and are much used by insects to hibernate in. Clumps can be cut back severely – I am always in conflict when is the best time.

On the one hand, the skeletal fronds look beautiful in the winter sun, so I like to leave to leave the cutting until spring.

On the other hand, water can lodge in the base of the plant, causing the whole thing to rot. It would be ideal if we could predict the winter weather – if wet, cut back, if dry and frosty, leave til spring!

One grass I would recommend highly for Irish weather is Miscanthus. There are many varieties, from very tall to about 60cm. They all spread, so you will need space. Their flower heads are particularly liked by greenfinches in the winter, so they are the last grasses in our garden to be pruned!

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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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