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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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Kerry v Cork match day parking

  Kerry take on Cork in the first round of the Munster Championship at Fitzgerald Stadium on Saturday. This glamour tie always attracts a huge crowd and Cork fans will […]

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Kerry take on Cork in the first round of the Munster Championship at Fitzgerald Stadium on Saturday.

This glamour tie always attracts a huge crowd and Cork fans will travel in their droves from the Rebel County.

As a result there will be parking restrictions and traffic disruptions in the town on Saturday afternoon.

“Please be aware that the town will be bustling with activity, and traffic congestion is expected. Some parking areas may reach capacity, so we recommend allowing extra time for your journey,” said a Garda spokesperson.

Parking will be available in the following areas near the stadium: New Street, The Glebe car park, Fair Hill car park, High Street, Rock Road car park and the Lewis Road car park.

Parking in the vicinity of Fitzgerald Stadium is reserved for residents with parking passes only.

For a full preview of the match turn to our Sports section on page 54

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Win tickets for Taylor Swift and support Palestine

Killarney For Palestine is raffling two tickets to a Taylor Swift concert in Edinburgh. The group is raising funds for the Halaq family who are known to Kerry Friends of […]

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Killarney For Palestine is raffling two tickets to a Taylor Swift concert in Edinburgh.

The group is raising funds for the Halaq family who are known to Kerry Friends of Palestine and who are currently displaced in tents in the Gaza Strip.

Their homes were destroyed in the city of Khan Younis by Israeli airstrikes.

“It currently costs between €5,000 and €6,000 per person to be evacuated from Gaza,” said Susan Larkin of Killarney For Palestine.

To be in with a chance of winning the tickets for the June 8 concert all you have to do is make a donation via the gofundme link below.

A minimum €5.00 donation ensures entry to the draw which will be made on April 24.

Link: https://www.gofundme.com/f/hx5ahx-help-my-children

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