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With the right conditions lavender can thrive for years

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By Debby Looney, gardening expert

A plant which is synonymous with long, hot summers, is lavender.

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A Mediterranean plant, it can be tricky to grow, indeed, impossible for some of us! Before spending too much on these plants, it is worth remembering that this plant hails from hot, dry countries, and therefore some gardens with wet, clay or dark conditions, will not suit it at all. It prefers slightly alkaline, well-drained conditions. Plant in full sun, south facing is best. If your soil is wet, or clay, mix plenty of organic matter and sand in with it, and even then, planting on a mound or ridge is preferable. If the soil is very acidic, adding lime can greatly improve growth. Lavender can be grown very successfully in pots, as they do not like soil to be too fertile, or wet. Keeping them quite dry over winter improves their resistance to cold.

When happy, lavender can thrive for years. It tends to become woody after a few years, and pruning is essential. Many books recommend pruning in spring, but I find cutting back immediately after flowering, in late summer, is best. Lavender does not ‘break’ easily from old wood, that is, buds do not easily come from old wood, therefore if plants have become lanky and woody, it is usually better to replace them.

CUTTINGS

Cuttings can be taken in early autumn, or spring. They are quite easy to root, but anticipate a 50 percent failure/success rate, as the cuttings often rot just after rooting. Good ventilation is necessary for a better success rate, as well as fungicide which is unavailable to the amateur gardener!

Lavender can be grown in many situations, they are popular in a formal garden, both as a filler plant behind buxus hedges, or as hedging in their own right. It has long been associated with roses, and is often used as under planting or companion planting in rose gardens. In the border, it is beautiful planted with bright green alchemilla mollis, or ladies mantle, peonies, phlox or penstemon. A contemporary way of using it is with Verbena bonariensis and Agapanthus. Blue/silver gardens are very trendy currently, and it is used extensively with rosemary, salvias, veronica, eryngium, caryopteris and perovskia.

There are many varieties of lavender to choose from, but there are basically three types: French (or Spanish), English and a hybrid of the two called Lavendin. The ones we see in garden centres are usually the first two. French lavender has flowers with ‘ears’, two long petals at the top. English lavender is the traditional variety, which, it must be said, grows better in our wet climate. It has the stronger scent, a bushier, more compact growing habit, and, in my opinion, better colour. ‘Munstead’ and ‘Hidcote’ are the hardiest and oldest English lavenders. French lavender is available in so many varieties it is often difficult to see the difference between them, but a tall one to look out for is ‘Vera’, and there is a whole ‘wings’ range which grows well.

ONE LAST TIP

A fantastic alternative to lavender is catmint, or Nepeta, in particular ‘Six Hills Giant’. It also has mauve coloured spikes of flowers, but is an exceptionally easy plant to grow in most adverse conditions!

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Flesk Fest promises to be a great evening of fun

By Michelle Crean Glenflesk GAA are planning a fun filled evening of top class entertainment. The Flesk Fest takes place on Saturday July 16 at 4pm in The Kerryway Steakhouse […]

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By Michelle Crean

Glenflesk GAA are planning a fun filled evening of top class entertainment.

The Flesk Fest takes place on Saturday July 16 at 4pm in The Kerryway Steakhouse & Bar.

Two exciting bands ‘All Folk’d Up’ and ‘Super Ceili’ will be playing and there’ll be plenty of fun and games and a delicious barbecue, raffle with some great prizes, and of course the ever popular Hang Tough Challenge!

“Please come out and support this great event! Tell your friends and we will make it a night to remember,” Seamus Healy from Glenflesk GAA said.

” Admission is only €15, and tickets are available from Mary McCarrick 087 7750773, Padraig O’Sullivan 087 0530384 or any club officer. They are also available in the Kerryway on the night.

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Rising cycling star selected for Belgium Project

By Sean Moriarty Killarney cyclist Sam Bolger (18) has been selected as one of four riders for the Belgian Project – one of the most prestigious stepping stones for Irish riders […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Killarney cyclist Sam Bolger (18) has been selected as one of four riders for the Belgian Project – one of the most prestigious stepping stones for Irish riders with ambitions to turn professional.

Northern Ireland-based Belgian Danny Blondell is the man behind the project.

For the last 15 years Blondell selects between four and six Irish riders and sends them to Belgium where they stay with local families and contest pro and semi-pro races.

As a race commentator Blondell is well placed to decide who is deserving of inclusion in the project.

Over the first six months of the year he makes decisions while attending early season races.

Those lucky enough to get selected go to live and race in Belgium for the second six months of the year.

Bolger, from Lewis Road, was selected after winning the junior race in the Cycling Ireland National Road Series in Mayo in March and the Orwell Stage Race in County Wicklow in June.

“He is delighted, it is a very big deal,” his father Paul told the Killarney Advertiser.

“He has had a very good year and the wins in Mayo and Wicklow secured the Belgium Project.”

Bolger will head to Belgium in late July and after to the Junior Tour of Ireland which takes place in County Clare between July 12 and 17.

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