What a difference some sunshine makes

Posted on: 5th October, 2015

Category: Home, Garden & Environment

Contributor: Ruby Harte

Ruby Harte (a.k.a Mags Riordan) has been a professional florist for over 12 years and has completed a course in horticulture and worked in garden centres, wholesale nurseries, and private gardens. Ruby runs a family owned nursery, Bumble Bee Farm in Castledonovan, Drimoleague and is deeply concerned about the protection and cultivation of nature and its habitats.

What a wonderful start to September with ‘sunshine’ offering a much-needed reprieve from our soggy summer. What a difference it makes, planting up the start of our spring beds in positively balmy conditions. We have made a start on sweet William, honesty, foxglove and campanula, we put a thick layer of grass mulch on the beds, which helps retain moisture, acts as a weed suppressant and helps condition the soil. We put up supports for cloching during the worst of the winter and this give us a head start with earlier blooms in late spring and early summer. Late summer sown sweet peas, stock, calendula, ammi, cornflowers and Icelandic poppies have all germinated well; they should have been potted up last week but with weddings and wedding fairs and weddings, it hasn’t happened – there goes my moon planting regime out the window. I’ll be hoping for a mild October to give them a chance to bulk up but at least most of them will be planted undercover for spring sales and most importantly spring weddings. Joining these in the tunnels will be anemones, ranunculus, fressia, and scented narcissus including paperwhite ‘Ziva’, erlicheer and Winston Churchill to name a few. (I must have scent, especially in spring) also muscari, which flowers so much earlier in the tunnel and the added stem length is wonderful, it helps extend our cutting season giving us that pretty blue from early March right through early May, having them planted inside and out.

I’m super excited to see all our new gourmet edible flowers that we will have next spring although they are only little green clumps now but come next spring…oh the anticipation!

One last manic weekend to go with two weddings and a two-day wedding fair in the middle. Hoping for a little R&R after that and to be able to catch our breath working at a more leisurely pace, a regular ‘9 to 5’ ha! Chance would be a fine thing.

Two of our tunnels were badly damaged in storm Darwin and have been slowly disintegrating with each passing one, so it’s a big job for the Autumn redoing plastic clearing, cleaning and total replanted; I love looking back at the finished product but to be honest I’m not relishing doing it at the end of a very busy season.

How things change from year to year – we were cutting lavatera and feverfew with a vengeance right up to mid October last year and filling wedding orders too, but this year it barely got to September before they were reduced to a soggy mess. My biggest disappointment was my beloved godetia – we hardly got a decent cut from it – I have to get a few rows in the tunnel next spring. It’s so difficult to gauge each year with all the variables but that is part of the charm, no two bouquets are ever the same and no two seasons are either.

Tortrix moths only became a problem on the roses towards the end of August; loads of cutting prior to that and the Dahlias escaped thankfully so we are making progress – we will cut everything back and clear all debris away and hopefully all the over wintering pupae with it. I feel it helped enormously this year so here’s hoping for next year.

I’m still gushing over our chickens. Two of the mom’s are still with their chicks although almost fully grown now, it’s oh so cute and get this, they are all female, fifteen and counting (because ‘Moma’ is on her second brood) not a cockerel to be seen – maybe that’s the secret to the harmony! Harold and Elton (our resident cockerels) will be beside themselves in the spring. I’d love to hear your stories about your chickens (I’m a little bit in love with mine).

Swallows and all our summer residents have gone south now, we wish them a safe journey and with the cooler temperatures it will be no time at all before we see our winter visitors of red wings and field fares.

We have a wonderful edition to our ever-growing family, a beautiful hound called ‘Sally’, who appeared in to us about six weeks ago, a little thin but full of life; we were only keeping her until the rescue centre had room for her but she had other ideas, ‘Gracie’ our traumatised rescue has adopted her and it has been the making of her – to say they love each other is an understatement and the rest is, as they say, is history. Oh boy a puppy, I’d forgotten the work involved, every thing chewed, toilet training…I’m so glad we’re heading in to winter not summer.

My biggest job for this winter is to get a planting plan down on paper utilising our space better, I’m very disorganised and plant whereever there is space without a thought to harvest. Subsequently I walk miles in the height of summer, cutting. I really need to put something in place with space divided up and sorted according to season – sounds great and makes perfect sense but get back to me next July and see did I manage it. I love to plant a bouquet in a bed but it needs to be more utilitarian to ensure easier harvesting, that’s all very well for a home cutting garden but I definitely need more discipline.

We have the pleasure of meeting some wonderful people and have been involved in some amazing collaborations we are truly grateful for all of these and sincere thanks to all involved.

One of those is ‘Stetsons and Stilettos’ due to be aired on RTE in October, still not sure of the date but do look out for it.

For more info on us, go to Rubyharte.com. Enjoy.

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Wave to Mary! 65-year-old Mary Nolan Hickey is running around the entire coast of the Island of Ireland to raise funds & awareness for the RNLI and is currently running the roads of West Cork.

Mary is the only woman to have completed every single Dublin Marathon (all 38 of them). She’s also completed the grueling Marathon des Sables in the Sahara Desert, known as the ‘toughest foot race on earth’.

To mark her 50th year involved in Athletics Mary is taking on her biggest challenge yet (even though she thought she’d already done that when completing the Dublin Marathon when she was over six months pregnant!) She wants to raise as much money as possible for the RNLI.

Mary started her epic journey in Arklow, Co. Wicklow, on New Year’s Day. She aims to cover up to 5000 kilometers, using coastal routes, over the next five months. She hopes to get back in time to get her first pension payment in June when she turns 66.

Mary will stop off at as many RNLI stations as possible, on her once in a lifetime adventure. As far as she knows no other woman has ever taken on this challenge.

Speaking about her journey Mary said:

“I wanted to prove that age not a barrier. Coming from a coastal town I have a deep affinity with our local RNLI station & volunteers and have huge admiration for the brave men and women who risk their lives to save lives at sea”.

Mary, who’s depending on the goodwill of communities along her route for accommodation, has been astounded by the response so far. “The support has been overwhelming,” she said. “I have met the most amazing and encouraging people along the way”.

To see more about Mary’s adventures, and to pinpoint her location today, check out her Facebook page - rnlilapofthemap2018.

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20th March, 2018  ·  


This Saturday the 10th March, will see some magically curious activity as local Bandon national schools compete in a Wizarding Harry Potter Quiz. The prize will be the beautiful Bandon Banshee Perpetual Cup.

As any Harry Potter enthusiast knows, Bandon has the unique honour of having a character named after the town. The Bandon Banshee, was referred to as the nemesis of Gilderoy Lockhart in the Chamber of Secrets. The book grossed €60 million in sales and was the 7th highest earning film of all time.

Locals, looking to enhance the town for young people, saw the quiz as an ideal way promote the connection. The universally absorbing book series brings young readers on a huge adventure of magic, adversity and triumph. It is also an exploration of loyalty and friendship, good and evil – so it is not only popular way to engage young people, it is a hugely positive connection.

Zoe Tennyson, one of the organisers said they were delighted with the response from schools who ran a qualifying quiz as part of World Book Day. On Saturday Bandon Town Hall will be transformed into Hogwarts Great Hall, with proceeds going Bandon Playground Group, and to cover costs of the event.

Bandon Books will be rewarding the winning team with vouchers to each of the five members. The Bandon Banshee, or Bean-sidhe na Bandaan Perpetual Cup will be hotly contested – but which school will the Banshee go to??

If you have any questions please call Marguerite McQuaid on 087 900 9494
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8th March, 2018  ·  

Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition 23 February 2018

The inaugural Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition will take place in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen this Friday 23rd February. As part of Engineers Week 2018, leaders and members of Ballineen Foróige Club have organised an exhibition which will showcase a diverse and exciting range of engineering projects that have been undertaken by members of the club over the last few weeks, with the aid of leaders and a number of local engineers.

With the aid of local pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, along with the support of STEAM Education, a UCC based company focused on promoting science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths subjects in primary schools, Ballineen Foróige has been engaging members and leaders in all things engineering over the last six weeks. From researching, designing, and prototyping a project based on local problems, to participating in various workshops on coding and careers in engineering, Ballineen Foróige have been extremely busy in preparation for the exhibition this coming Friday night.

On the night itself, Michael Loftus, Head of Engineering at CIT, Fintan Goold, Manager at Eli Lilly and All-Ireland Cork winning Footballer, along with Geraldine Coughlan of GCA Architects & Designers, a local business, will act as judges on the night, evaluating the different engineering projects and offering some advice to the members of the club. Also in attendance will be the CEO of Foróige Seán Campbell, along with a number of local councillors, TD’s and Senators.

Leading the team of Ballineen Foróige leaders organising the event, is Rebecca Dwyer, a bioprocess engineer at Eli Lilly. Rebecca recently became a leader in the club and says that Ballineen Foróige Young Engineer Exhibition 2018 “promises to be a fun, challenging and rewarding experience for all involved and we look forward to welcoming parents, relatives, friends and members of the public to the exhibition and film screening on the evening of Friday 23rd February.” Overall, there are twelve projects entered in the exhibition. One project, led by Cian Kennefick and Charlie Nolan, members of the starting out club, examines the possibility of installing speed ramps on the road near local primary school. Fourteen-year-old Charlie says he got involved in the project as it was something to do and it gets you thinking. Cian says the most exciting part of the project was the building of the prototypes.

Both Cian and Charlie, along with thirty other members of the club will display their projects this coming Friday 23 February in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen. Doors open at 8pm and the event runs until 10pm. All are welcome to attend, and admission is free. Catering, including tea and coffee, will be provided on the night.
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20th February, 2018  ·  

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Main course

17th February, 2018  ·  

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