Choose a locally grown Christmas tree

Posted on: 1st December, 2014

Category: Home, Garden & Environment

Contributor: West Cork People

There is quite an amount of work to do around the garden and in the greenhouse during December.

Tree ferns, bananas and other tender plants should all be protected against cold weather. Check that greenhouse heaters are in full working order. Apple and pear trees should be pruned now. Prune acers, birches and grape vines before Christmas to avoid bleeding. This is the time to harvest leeks, parsnips, winter cabbage, sprouts, kale, parsnips and carrots. Deciduous trees and shrubs can still be planted and transplanted but make sure that stakes are secure on trees, replacing stakes or ties that have become damaged. Plant the last of your spring flowering bulbs such as daffodils, tulips and hyacinths. Finally, choose your Christmas tree.

Houseplants, Greenhouse and Conservatory.     

Reduce watering of houseplants at this time of year — water early in the day, keeping water off foliage and flowers. Use luke-warm water if temperatures are low and cold weather is prevailing.

Ensure that there is adequate ventilation in your greenhouse or conservatory, opening up the vents on mild dry days, ideally in late morning to early afternoon.

Cacti need very little watering or feeding over the winter. Keep them barely moist until the spring when they will be coming up to flowering and will therefore appreciate watering and feeding.

Clivia will benefit equally from less watering and feeding during the low light level period of winter.

Check that light levels are sufficient for houseplants over winter.

Pot up Hippeastrum (Amarylis) and bring them back into active growth with regular watering and feeding. They will reward you with beautiful flowers for the New Year.

Christmas cactus thrive best in a cool room with good natural rather than artificial light. Recommended temperature for Christmas cactus is not more than 18 degrees c (65f)

Cyclamen prefer a cool room with good light. Water from underneath and avoid wetting the leaves and flowers, as this may result in fungal infections and rotting.

Azaleas enjoy cool conditions. They are best in a cool but bright room, ideally unheated except where exceptionally low temperatures occur (when they can be brought into an area which is not frost susceptible). Water with rainwater.

Poinsettias are very much symbolic of Christmas and are chiefly sold in the period prior to Christmas. Avoid buying plants that have been accidentally chilled, especially those, which have been exposed to cold, draughty locations on cold days. Keep your Poinsettias in a warm, light place away from draughts and water with lukewarm water. Avoid standing for long periods in water. When they become dry you can stand in a saucer of lukewarm water for 10 or 15 minutes. Any water that remains at the end of the 10-15 minute period should be discarded.

Hyacinths, Narcissi, Crocus for early colour

Place Hyacinths, early Narcissi and Crocus in a cool, bright place in the home. If it’s too warm, the leaves will elongate, become drawn and the flower life will be much shortened. Keeping them cool and in a bright place will result in sturdier, more long lasting flowers.

Christmas Trees 

Choose a locally grown Christmas tree. Keep in a cool place outdoors until you are ready to put it in place. Avoid placing too close to a fire or radiator, as this will cause excessive moisture loss and needle drop. Place in a stand with a reservoir of water. Check daily and top up the water when the level drops.

Christmas Wreaths 

You can use traditional ivy with hollies preferably with berries, spruce, pines, Magnolia grandiflora, Osmanthus, Viburnum tinus and bay. For a more rustic wreath why not include twisted stems of hazel, birch, dogwood, willow, honeysuckle and vines and decorate with rose hips or the fluffy heads of old man’s beard (Clematis vitalba). Kept cool and moist, your wreaths can have a life of four to five weeks (longer outdoors).

Planting fruit trees and bushes 

When weather and soil conditions permit, continue with planting of fruit trees and bushes. Why not give a gift of a collection of fruit trees or bushes as a Christmas gift? They make a highly practical Christmas gift that will give a lifetime of satisfaction rewarding the recipient year after year with delicious fruit from their very own garden! Choose a fresh site, which hasn’t grown fruit before. It is essential to have compatible pollinators when planting apple trees. A typical combination could include Bramley’s Seedling (cooker), Grenadier (early cooker), James Grieve (dessert), Discovery (dessert). If space permits, adding a crab apple will add to the collection and will help pollination. Blackcurrants, Redcurrants and Gooseberries may be planted at 150cm apart (5ft). Established currants and gooseberries will benefit from a mulch applied any time between now and March of well-rotted farmyard manure or well-composted garden compost.

May I take this opportunity of wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and every good wish for the New Year ahead.          John Hosford

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11th October, 2017  ·  

Submarines, American Sailors, and the Underwater War in Irish Waters, 1917-1918
by Dr John Borgonovo in The Parish Centre, Clonakilty
on Thursday Oct 26 2017 at 8.30 pm

In 1917, unrestricted submarine warfare by German U-boats brought the United States into WWI and created a crisis in Britain. To defeat the submarine menace, an American naval fleet was dispatched to County Cork, bringing about 10,000 sailors with it. This talk will explain the circumstances of this extraordinary event, and how Cork residents dealt with their unexpected American guests.

Dr John Borgonovo is a lecturer in the School of History at UCC. His publications include Spies, Informers, and the 'Anti-Sinn Féin' Society: The Intelligence War in Cork City, 1920-1921; The Dynamics of War and Revolution: Cork City, 1916-1918; Exercising a close vigilance over their daughters: Cork women, American sailors, and Catholic vigilantes, 1917-18; Something in the Nature of a Massacre: The Bandon Valley Killings Revisited (with Andy Bielenberg). His latest publication (with co-authors John Crowley, Donal Ó Drisceoil and Mike Murphy) is the highly acclaimed and magnificient Atlas of the Irish Revolution. In July of this year, he organised a very successful conference on Winning the Western Approaches - Unrestricted Submarine Warfare and the US Navy in Ireland 1917-1918.
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11th October, 2017  ·  

Apple Juicing Day in Clonakilty next Sunday Sept 30th. All welcome to bring their apples from 2-6pm to the Clonakilty Community Garden (on entrance road to Clonakilty Lodge).

Building on the success of its inaugural 2016 event, local voluntary environmental organisation Sustainable Clonakilty invites people to bring along their apples and press them to extract their own juice to take home, using the group's Apple Press.

Volunteers will be at hand to assist in the procedure. Bring along your apples washed; clean containers to freeze your juice (milk/juice bottles or cartons, plastic bottles with caps); clean, sterilised glass bottles to pasteurise with swing caps or suitable for 26 mm diameter metal cap.

A limited number of new 3 litres juice bags that are suitable for freezing and pasteurising, can be purchased for a nominal fee on the day also.

This is a free community event and donations will be welcome to cover costs.

For further information, please contact Xavier at xavierdubuisson@gmail.com or text at 086/0476124.
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26th September, 2017  ·  

Dúchas Clonakilty's first lecture for the Autumn promises to be of huge interest to all: Emerging from the Shadow of Tom Crean – The Parish Centre, Clonakilty, Thursday September 28th 8.30pm.

Lecture by Aileen Crean O’Brien & Bill Sheppard

In May 2016, Kerry man Tom Crean, along with Ernest Shackleton and four other crew members, landed the James Caird lifeboat on the rocky isle of South Georgia. The navigation of that small boat, across 1500 km through icy winds and towering seas, is regarded as the greatest ever feat of navigation. They then trekked across the forbidding and inhospitable mountains and glaciers of South Georgia to seek help for the rest of their crew, who were left behind on Elephant Island after their ship, the Endurance, was crushed by the Antarctic ice.

One hundred years later, Crean’s grandaughter, Aileen Crean O’Brien, set off with her sons and partner to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps. Join Aileen and Bill to hear of their adventures (and misadventures) on the Southern Ocean and the island of South Georgia.
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