Little green fingers: Robert Leddy (6) from Araglen, Co Cork weeding his pumpkin and sunflower patch. Robert is a keen gardener and is very interested in growing plants.
Thieves in the night
They hide in dark corners – under leaves
but when I leave, slowly pawn my work
sneaking from shadowy hideaways
to denigrate the toil I have tallied
in hours of labouring under an impatient
waiting. They think I work only for them
bruise my fingers, soil my nails
so that they can purloin riches
from sweat I have spilled freely
into hours of garnered expertise
green shoots of a pink dawning
gone to feed greedy munching
of a self-established boss, complicit
in ruining my prospective wealth
health not a consideration
for this unwanted visitor
only an oily silver trail
By Art Ó Súilleabháin (Corr na Móna, Co. na Gaillimhe)
with Dr Catherine Keena
Teagasc countryside management specialist
Look out for privet, a semi-evergreen shrub in rural hedges with the leaves turning colour in autumn and falling in winter.
The privet in gardens is not the native species, but a Japanese introduction, with leaves closer together.
Leaves and inflorescences of the native species are downy, those of garden privet are not.
The compact panicle of flowers have a heavy, sweet scent, which is even stronger at dusk, at which time the white colour is most vivid and moths are on the wing and use the funnel-like shape of the little flowers to pollinate privet.
The privet hawkmoth feeds on the leaves.
The number of petals on a true lily. See Gardening with Gerry
Dark patches of mould have to be addressed before painting.
Mould is a fungus. Just painting over mould will only cover it for a short time. It will cause the paint to flake and bubble as it continues to grow.
The spores that various moulds give off to spread can cause serious respiratory issues for vulnerable people, so be aware and eliminate it.
Mould cannot grow without moisture. Try to find and fix the root of the dampness issue.
Sometimes condensation dampness occurs in the furthest away corner of the bedroom or over the shower in the bathroom.
Making sure that you open the window for a few hours every day can prevent mould reoccurring. To fix the problem, the mould has to be killed first.
Wear a mask, gloves and eye protection. Sand the ceiling or wall lightly to break up the fungus. Then spray on and scrub in copious amounts of vinegar.
This will kill the mould. Repeat the process a few days later. Once dry, paint or prime with a moisture resistant product.
I successfully ate a bar of chocolate in the car without getting any on my white trousers. Beat that— Susan Smyth (@SusanSmythSL) July 25, 2022
Experts say that the more sports kids can do the better as they grow up into adolescence. This is preferable to specialising in one or two. It goes back to the past when children used to climb trees and run through meadows and were very active.