Beekeeper Mary O’Riordan on the by-products of a hive

The Healing Bee by Roch Domerego from Northern Bee Books €10 approx. www.northernbeebooks.co.uk

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Birds of prey progress is ‘mixed’

IRELAND’S Environment — An Assessment 2016 has been published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

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Feeling powerless against mighty Gunnera

THE yard is carpeted in bronze and chestnut beech leaves.

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More to the eye in plantation

THERE’S a forestry plantation a couple of kilometres from my house. It’s about 60 or 70 years old, growing on the drained fringe of a raised bog and the trees are lodgepole pines.

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The quintessential English cottage garden style is not so English at all

What we think of as the quintessential English cottage garden style — mixed herbaceous borders and some pomp and circumstance, and yes, by that we can infer a bit of Elgar and Victoria sponge) — the type of garden praised and replicated across Britain, and adhered to here by a certain type of Irish mindset and the open-garden brigade — is not so English at all.

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Our gardening noticeboard

Our gardening noticeboard. Keep up to date with events.

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This week’s jobs around the garden

Don’t put the patio planters and window boxes in mothballs for the winter this year.

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No such thing as a high maintenance plant - easy planting and easy care is the secret

There is no such thing as a high maintenance plant. Yes, you read that correctly — plants are not demanding. What happens is that sometimes, when we put the wrong plant in the wrong place, we create a maintenance issue.

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Garden gifts: Have yourself a fruity, boozy Christmas, for free

Idon’t know if you have the kind of friends that you could safely give gifts of home-made things in jars to, as Christmas presents. There are always a few pals that might appreciate a homemade body scrub in a chunky jar, or a little hamper made up of a jam, or chutney and maybe even a ferment or two.

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Fiann’s tips for the weekend

Fiann gives his gardening tips for the weekend.

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Ducks delight in glare of the supermoon

Maybe the ducks instinctively knew the supermoon was coming, writes Damien Enright

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Are birds with bigger brains better able to avoid human hunters?

Bigger-brained birds are better able to distinguish dangerous humans, writes Richard Collins

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Saving our bogs a priority

Bogs are landscapes that need to the conserved, writes Donal Hickey

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Curlew is in trouble and faces extinction in Ireland

True Irish curlews are in serious trouble and may face imminent extinction, writes Dick Warner

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This is the perfect moment to prune apples and pears

There is a season for everything, and while fruit tree pruning isn’t rocket science, it should be enjoyable. Fiann Ó Nualláin offers a paper plane version of how and when to snip.

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What goes with holly?

Don’t be in a rush to cut back ivy growing on your fence or wall during the winter.

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Fiann’s tips for the weekend

* While you can lift and store root crops such as carrots, beetroot, turnips and swedes — parsnips and celeriac can be left in — to sweeten in the chill for a few weeks yet.

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Peter Dowdall discusses the symbolism of trees

 

Trees possess all the virtues that we regard as good in life. Longevity, security, roots, openness and stability, says Peter Dowdall.

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Real bread: The reasons why you should make and eat this quality staple

Valerie O’Connor opines on the wisdom of using one’s loaf — and suggests forgoing ‘Satan bread’, the chemically-treated ‘pseudough’ product implicated in gut, allergy and other serious health problems.

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Beware the mixotrophs - they can destroy entire ecosystems 'in a matter of hours'

AN INTERESTING article, which was first published in the online journal The Conversation, is reproduced in the current edition of Scientific American, writes Richard Collins

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Majestic trees part of the autumnal delights in 'secret' Doneraile Park

MAGNIFICENT trees are, arguably, the most important legacy we have from the landed estates which once included most of the land of Ireland. We had about 5,000 landed gentry in the late 18th century, says Donal Hickey.

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Yellowhammers and the importance of hedgerows

HAS anybody seen a yellowhammer recently? Has anybody seen a flock of yellowhammers, asks Damien Enright

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Nature Table: Silverweed

Silverweed is a well-named plant because its most striking characteristic is the silvery colour of its leaves, even more pronounced on the underside.

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Survival of the pheasant as shooting season opens

THROUGH the late summer and autumn a cock pheasant has been feeding in the field outside my study. He’s a big bird with a long tail and fairly elderly, writes Dick Warner.

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Survival of the honey bee is critical for spring pollination

Mary O’Riordan explains the complex processes involved in overwintering of honey bee colonies.

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Watch: Find out how to gather the right mushrooms for eating

With edible mushrooms carrying bizarrely spooky names, it’s no wonder that some of us are a little scared of picking them in season, says Valerie O’Connor.

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Fiann's tips for the week

* Asparagus crowns can go in now and any perennial veg can be divided.

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The benefits of food grown in season is glaringly obvious

Seasonal food will give you what you need for the particular season in which it grows — simple really, says Fiann Ó Núalláin.

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The 170m-year-old ginkgo tree has been used as a medicinal herb

Peter Dowdall discovers a garden tree that has not only survived the bombing of Hiroshima, but has been around for over 170m years.

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Leaves of autumn inspire season of goodwill in passersby

The leaves underfoot are dry as potato crisps, lighter and every shade from pastel yellow to blood red. They crunch underfoot; they blow around the yard in eddies and whirlpools, writes Damien Enright

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Shannon dolphins at risk

A large pod of bottlenose dolphins, resident in the Shannon Estuary for centuries, may not be nearly as well-known as a fellow dolphin further down the coast, in Dingle, Co Kerry, writes Donal Hickey

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Winter Skating away from extinction

Rapid climate change threatens animals and plants worldwide; those failing to adapt to their new circumstances are doomed. Nature favours individuals well suited to their environments so, when conditions change, species maturing quickly and producing lots of young fare best, writes Richard Collins

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Eagles need their space

I spent the weekend before last based in the picturesque Co Tipperary village of Garrykennedy on a family pike-fishing trip. The weather was glorious and the fishing was excellent but I had less luck with the birdwatching, writes Dick Warner

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Nature table: Wild Swans

At this time of year two species of wild swan arrive to join our resident mute swans for the winter. Most of our whooper swans come from Iceland and because we are the winter home to about 65% of the world population of this magnificent bird we are extremely important to their conservation.

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Watch: Demand is high for hot Irish peppers from Tribal Foods in Co Galway

Valerie O’Connor talks to Tribal Foods owner, Liam Heneghan, on the healthy demand for spicy and vibrant fruits.

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Jobs around the garden: Apple tree pruning

Fruit trees such as apples and pears will benefit from pruning this month.

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Plant garlic bulbs now

* If you missed the trick last month then now is the time to plant your garlic cloves.

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Good clean food will ward off winter bugs and viruses

Fiann Ó Nualláin says there are dozens of foods that can help you fight off the armies of bacteria and viruses that attack your system in winter.

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Watch out for pests and diseases on your plants

 

We’re familiar with the likes of Dutch elm disease, but be wary of new attackers, writes Peter Dowdall.

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