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Thurles
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real feel: 3°C
wind speed: 0 m/s ENE
sunrise: 8:03 am
sunset: 6:29 pm
 

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Daffodil, The Flower Symbolizing Friendship

“And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils.”
[Extract from the poem “Daffodils” by William Wordsworth.]

The season of Autumn 2017, here in our Northern Hemisphere, truly began just 9 days ago, on Friday, 22nd September at 9.54pm, and will come to an end on Thursday, 21st December 2017, as the dark winter days once again emerge.

But fear not; remember the words of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley “O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?”; so, let’s forget about winter and prepare for spring.

Later, towards the end of this month, will be the time to plant spring flowering bulbs, like the Crocus, Snowdrops, Bluebells and Tulips; but right now, is the best time to plant those Daffodils with their wonderful characteristic six petal-like sepals, surmounted by their trumpet-shaped corona; the flower that symbolizes ‘Friendship’.

Among the earliest blooms to appear in our Irish spring; Daffodils have been around for a long, long time, getting mentioned as far back as two hundred years B.C.. Indeed, it was a group of Englishmen in the early 17th century who plucked the Daffodil out of the windflower category; positioned it firmly, because of its charm, for inclusion into our domestic flower garden and rockery.  Originating in Spain and Portugal, the Daffodil bulb, thankfully, was brought to the British Isles by the Romans, who foolishly believed that the sap from Daffodils had certain healing powers; alas the sap contains crystals that in some cases can irritate the skin.

When sowing Daffodils note that unlike some other bulbs (e.g. Tulips, Garlic), they do not require to be refrigerated. Each should have at least 2 to 3 inches of soil cover (deeper in sandy soil) and be planted a minimum of 4–5 inches apart over the next week, before really hard ground frost materialises.

After a Daffodil has finishes blooming, it still requires its foliage to gather and store energy for the following year’s bloom, so do watch the video shown above and remember if you want beautiful blooms next year, do not cut them back until the green of their foliage has fully disappeared, (usually late May or June). You can remove the spent flower head, but do remove the leaves.

You will observe from year to year how densely packed your Daffodils have become, so it is recommended that in June about every 5 years, that you grant the bulbs a little more growing space. Once finished blooming and when their leaves have turned brown, do dig them up and divide them by carefully plying them apart from one another, keeping their remaining leaves attached. They can then be replanted, as stated earlier with 2 to 3 inches of soil cover, 4–5 inches apart, or washed and dried by hanging in, if needs must,  ladies panty hose, or an onion sack (if you can locate same from your local greengrocer), in a cool, airy location, until they are ready to be replanted. Remember, Mulch can be tremendously beneficial when growing Daffodils, so do not dump all your tea leaves, coffee grinds, tree leaves, grass clippings, sawdust etc in your brown bin for removal by your recycling company.

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A Gardeners Friend – The Great Tit

Often misidentified as a Blue Tit or Coal Tit; one resident bird species, always welcome in our gardens here in Ireland, is the Great Tit, latter one of our top-20 most widespread of garden birds.

This shy, often non easily trusting little residents, is welcomed by gardeners since it lives on a diet of mainly insects, seeds and nuts. By using a peanut feeders during the winter months and food scraps on a bird table, this black-headed and largest of the tit family, will remain a constant visitor.

Word of warning, especially regarding the use of peanuts, fat and bread at nesting time, since these foods can be harmful when adult birds are feed their young. If you must put out peanuts in Spring and Summer, only do so in tight mesh feeders that will not allow sizeable pieces of peanuts to be removed, thus avoiding the risk of baby chicks choking.

The Great Tit is easily identified with its striking black head and large white cheek patches. Also a distinct black band can be easily spotted runs down the centre of its bright yellow breast. When perched viewers can observe a distinct white bar on both wings. Its bill is pointed but nevertheless stout for its size, while it stands on legs which appear bluish-grey in colour.

Its typical chirp, sounds like “teacher, teacher” and or ” tew, tew tew” with often repetitive variations.

The Great Tit breeds throughout Eire and will nest in cavities in trees or stone walls and are known to choose unusual nesting sites such as pipes or even letterboxes. Where silence prevails, it will readily use man manufactured nest-boxes.

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Thurles Sky’s Hide Strawberry Moon

Thurles Sky watchers should have had a chance to catch a glimpse of the full “strawberry moon” tonight Friday, June 9th;  the sixth full moon on the 2017 lunar calendar and the last full moon of the spring season in the northern hemisphere.

Alas, our Tipperary skys are clouded over and presently, to use the old Irish phrase describing heavy rain showers, “Tá sé ag caitheamh sceana gréasaí,” or translated from the Irish to English: “It’s throwing cobblers knives.”

Tonight’s moon should have been the smallest looking moon of 2017, as it will be the furthest distance from the Earth when it reaches its fullest phase.

Often referred to as the strawberry moon in warmer climates, because June in some areas is the prime month for harvesting strawberries. Here in Ireland, my late Granny always referred to this moon as the ‘Rose Moon’, viewing with such pleasure her climbing, rambler ‘American Pillar’ roses which she had nailed, over the years with leather straps to the stables south facing timber wall. She would smile when asked where she had acquired it; replying, “I borrowed a slip from a friend.”

Perhaps, if you don’t get a chance to see this full strawberry or rose moon tonight, do check it out tomorrow night (Saturday June 10th), when the potential clouded sky’s over Thurles may be more revealing.

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Enhancement and Painting Schemes 2017

Liberty Square, Thurles.

Thurles & Templemore Town Enhancement and Painting Scheme 2017

Tipperary County Council are seeking to improve the streetscapes of the towns of Templemore and Thurles. This is being done by supporting the owners of properties through improving and enhancing their premises and public areas generally; through painting or undertaking other general improvements to the fronts of Commercial and Residential buildings, e.g. Erection of planters; floral hanging baskets, or indeed other environmental improvements.

Generous Maximum Grants:
Up to 50% of the approved cost of any such work undertaken (subject to a maximum of €500.00), will be grant aided.  Note: Priority will be given to applications by owners of property that are visibly in dire need of maintenance, in order to further prevent them from becoming and or indeed continuing to remain derelict.

Grant Application forms are available to download from www.tipperarycoco.ie.  Further queries can be directed to Mr Noel McCormack, Tipperary County Council, by email to noel.mccormack@tipperarycoco.ie or by Telephoning (0761) 066062.

Completed Applications should be clearly marked “Thurles/Templemore Town Enhancement & Painting Scheme 2017” and returned to Ms Deirdre O’Shea, Acting District Administrator, Tipperary County Council, Templemore / Thurles Municipal District, Castle Avenue, Thurles, Co. Tipperary by 4.30pm on Friday 30th June, 2017.

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March Many Weathers

Despite over half the month gone, March is already living up to its reputation of “March many weathers”.

Potato Sowing Time.

Temperatures are expected to fall below freezing tonight nationwide, with hazardous icy driving conditions guaranteed on our roads. (So please, please do drive with care.)

Today’s forecast comes with a yellow weather warning from Met Éireann for snow and ice tonight and much of tomorrow morning, particularly on mountains, hills and areas of high ground in the western half of the country.

During the next three days, Tuesday 21st through to Thursday23rd, our weather is expected to be cold with northern winds making it feel even colder, with some rain showers expected to turn into sleet or even snow.

With the long term weather outlook promising to turn milder next weekend; outside elements permitting, now might be the perfect opportunity to turn over some soil to the frost, in preparation for sowing a few seed potatoes early next week.

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