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Why have some flowers been forgotten?

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By Debby Looney, gardening expert

It seems that every day new plants are created with a variety of colours and shapes of leaves/flowers… all with patents and rights attached so growers/inventors can make money, and consumers continue to buy.

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And designers also have the opportunity to make beautiful new labels to entice us. So many of these have short life spans, and cannot withstand our weather. They are hyped up, the market is flooded, the trend is set, and the customer buys. We are all victim to it, myself included.

However, what of the old plants, the reliable ones our grandparents grew? In the vegetable world they would be known as heirloom varieties. In the fashion industry it is called vintage. In the gardening world they are called boring! In recent years, as I see one thing after another failing, I am beginning to appreciate the boring plants!

Take Potentillas for example, they come in red, orange, cream, yellow, flower all summer from April onwards, need no pruning or dead-heading, and are generally disease free and hardy. Why have they been forgotten? ‘Yellow Queen’, ‘Primrose Beauty’, ‘Abbotswood white’ and ‘Red Ace’ are excellent varieties.

Spirea is another plant which is not as popular as it should be. ‘Snowmound’ has delicate bright green leaves on arching branches. In early spring it is covered in pure white flowers. ‘Goldmound’ has bright red new foliage which turns a lovely shade of gold, and flowers pink throughout the summer. ‘Golden Princess’ and ‘Little Princess’ are dwarf varieties.

Astilbe, also commonly called Spirea, is a perennial with spikes of red, pink, cream or white flowers. They are great fillers, and will grow in any soil. Slug and rabbit resistant - a must have. Shasta daisies are also reliable, however, go for the original single flowered one. All the funky, spiky, double types need care and attention and well-drained soil!

Cistus, or rockrose, is another old-fashioned plant which has fallen out of favour. I am not sure why, as it is compact, free-flowering, evergreen and easy to grow! There are many varieties to choose from, but mainly pink and white. It is advisable to cut it back by half after flowering, to prevent it going woody and too big.

It is not just in the world of shrubs and perennials that old favourites are pushed aside. Are you growing Alyssum? The white and blue borders, as they are known, are forgotten about! Also marigolds, and especially Tagetes, are not that popular but they keep midges away, and their scent is delicious. Pretty yellow flowers, they withstand wind, rain and heat. Ageratum always reminds me of my grandmother, and as such I always have it - but it is so hard to get it is almost rare! Salvia is another bedding plant which has been left by the wayside, but show me another red as vibrant!

So, even though new plants are exciting, it is worthwhile building a garden around tried and tested reliables. It is after 15 years of spending money, digging out and transplanting, disappointment and questioning myself as a gardener, that I come to you with this advice!

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​​Bursaries presented to schools at Lions Club open night

By Michelle Crean Three Killarney schools have been awarded bursaries from a local group. Killarney Lions Club made the presentations to Killarney Community College, St Brigid’s Presentation School and St […]

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By Michelle Crean

Three Killarney schools have been awarded bursaries from a local group.

Killarney Lions Club made the presentations to Killarney Community College, St Brigid’s Presentation School and St Brendan’s College to help support students in need.

It took place at their open night recently in the KDYS Youth Centre.

The night featured different exhibitions about Killarney Lions Club activities such as the Annual Christmas Food Appeal and the Kerry Clubs Fair.

“It was great that people made the effort to come and find out more what Killarney Lions Club does, despite the weather on the night. We are a voluntary group so community support is vital for activities such as our Christmas Food Appeal which will kick off very soon.”

The Killarney Lions Club, through its members, assists various groups and individuals in and around the community. Lions do this through voluntary activities, fundraising and by holding various types of events in support of a great many local causes.

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Staff celebrated for their long service

Stalwarts of the tourism industry in Killarney were delighted to celebrate their long term team members with a gourmet dinner in Great Southern recently. The event was held for all […]

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Stalwarts of the tourism industry in Killarney were delighted to celebrate their long term team members with a gourmet dinner in Great Southern recently.

The event was held for all team members of the Great Southern and Killarney Royal who have over 10 years of service, and was hosted by Michael Jacobi, Managing Director, Hayfield Family Collection and Mark Scally, Financial Controller, Hayfield Family Collection.

32 employees celebrated on the night, with the Great Southern represented by John Fitzgerald with 53 years of service, Martina O’Leary with 44 years of service and Kathleen Bhuiyan with 31 years of service. From Killarney Royal Joseph Hurley celebrated 37 years of service with John Harrington celebrating 32 years and Nuala Doolan celebrating 30 years.

“It is an absolute pleasure for us to celebrate our long term staff members,” event host and Hayfield Family Collection Managing Director, Michael Jacobi, said.

“They have played such an integral part in achieving the high standards we are known to provide and are such familiar welcoming faces for our guests.”

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