Brexit hits the Chelsea Flower Show

The world of showbusiness collides in London this week with the world of gardening in the form of the colourful explosion that is the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

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Nature Table: Orange Tip Butterfly

Orange tips are on the wing at present. Male butterflies are unmistakable, with the vivid orange tips of the fore-wings contrasting with the white of the rest of the wings.

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Return of the red squirrels

I have a friend and neighbour who, many years ago, planted trees on most of his farm. He now has a large mixed woodland and it’s right beside an even larger one, Donadea Forest Park, which is an old demesne wood now managed by Coillte, writes Dick Warner.

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Canadians’ clever use of natural resources commendable

Glass City, Vancouver, where towers of glass rise 25 floors above the concrete avenues, might also be called Green City, writes Damien Enright

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Rare sighting of American visitor - the red-winged blackbird

North Ronaldsay is the northernmost island of the Orkney archipelago. 

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Garden of earthly delights

Peter Dowdall visits the 97-acre estate at Inish Beg Estate near Baltimore, Co Cork, and meets the owners whose organic approach has reaped resplendent rewards.

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Timber - What life is made of

Rose Martin picks up a copy of William Hall’s latest block buster, which frames the building materials that make up our world. This time he concentrates on timber.

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Play towers are the new treehouses, don't you know?

When is a tree house not a tree house? When it’s a play tower, says Rose Martin, who went to the village of Glanworth to see what you can do when you don’t have a tree to hang a house on top.

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Beekeepers are vital to the success of a hive

What marks a queen out from a crowd of other bees? A beekeeper’s skill, says Mary O’Riordan

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Why I’m just wild about ‘sticky willies’ and their many benefits

Fiann Ó Nualláin gets to grips with the fascinating backstory of the Cleaver ‘sticky back’ weed

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Dan Pearson: A man for all seasons

Chelsea gold medal-winning designer Dan Pearson names s his favourite plants and tells Hannah Stephenson how they can be partnered in the garden

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Give your garden pond a Spring cleaning

Dick Warner shares his techniques for Spring cleaning your garden pond.

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Welcomed to Canada by Beaver and a goose

The dark Canada of endless pines, lakes and mountains, was gone, writes Damien Enright.

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Whales: Babies whisper to mums

The recent discovery that humpback whale mothers and their new-born babies whisper to each other raises intriguing questions. We usually divide vocal communications into songs and calls, writes Richard Collins.

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Play your part in helping nature

May is many people’s favourite month, as we witness nature and new life burst forth in all their glory, writes Donal Hickey.

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Fountains and blooms are the hallmarks of the Mallow Homes and Garden Show

Peter Dowdall reflects on some of the visitors to the Mallow Home and Garden Show over the years. 

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Patio varieties pave the way to perfection

Sprucing up your patio for summer? Hannah Stephenson finds that smaller varieties of fruit bushes, flowers and vegetables make the most of our outdoor rooms.

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Marigolds help send pests in the wrong direction and is an ideal 'companion plant'

Marigolds can be a multi-purpose source of colour in the garden as well as being a valuable companion for the veg patch, writes Fiann Ó Nualláin.

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B&Q takes ‘trailblazing’ step to stop decline in bees

All flowering plants sold by B&Q will be grown free from the pesticides that are linked to a decline in the bee population.

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Trail bikes frightened off poor skylarks

A walker reading one of my pocket-book West Cork walking guides contacted me to say that, although she had walked a saltmarsh behind Garafeen Strand near Kilbrittain for 10 years, she had never seen the skylarks I mentioned in my book. 

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Richard Collins: It’s time to expel superstition about pangolins

It is easier to accept a convincing new idea than to banish an old false one. 

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Fish go deep on way back

The life story of the salmon from its birth in an upland stream, in Ireland, to its Atlantic voyage of several thousand kilometres continues to fascinate.

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Taking stock of wildlife

I live down a narrow, twisting cul-de-sac lane. You are forced to drive very slowly but this does give you the chance to take in the seasonal progression in the hedgerows and verges and the wildlife living in them. 

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Nature table: Brimstone butterfly

This large and striking butterfly is rather localised in its Irish distribution but where it exists it is particularly evident at this time of year when mating and egg-laying are taking place.

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All hands on deck before sailing off into the summer

A little scrubbing and refinishing are all you need to get that decking in ship-shape for outdoor living. Kya deLongchamps gets us on board

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Giant redwoods will live again at Birr Castle

Peter Dowdall reports on an initiative in the grounds of Birr Castle demesne that will see massive redwood trees tower over the midlands like they once did in the stone age

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Reap the rewards of tough love with a bumper harvest

Fiann Ó Nualláin says you can boost the growth potential of your plants by thinning seedlings

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The success of compact clematis

Celebrated clematis-grower Raymond Evison, the winner of 28 Chelsea Gold medals, unveils his forthcoming design for this year’s show and shares the secrets of his success with Hannah Stephenson

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Nature table: Forget-me-not flower

There are three Irish species of forget-me-not and they are quite similar. 

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Getting Warner’s syndrome while fishing on holiday

I RECENTLY went on a short holiday to Croatia, the first time I’ve visited this rather wonderful country, writes Dick Warner.

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Nature bouncing back with lots of positives going on in Irish environment and wildlife

DESPITE the downbeat and often valid warnings about the state of the Irish environment and wildlife, lots of positive things are going on, writes Donal Hickey.

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Irish life amicable for chiffchaff

THE cuckoo’s evocative call announces the arrival of summer but it’s no longer heard where I live, writes Richard Collins

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Poor Ethiopians again in need of our help

Damien Enright visited an EFDA project in Ethiopia, and saw it was doing genuine good work

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The loss of the world’s bee population would have catastrophic consequences

We all know that without bees, we are in trouble. And I don’t just mean as gardeners, I also mean as a surviving species on this planet.

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Nettle beer and gorse wine are quick and easy to make

Plants such as gorse and nettle look sun-shiny and tempting and yes, they can be fermented into tasty tipples, says Valerie O’Connor.

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Irish-based botanists travel in search of exotic new plant species

Plant hunting is something many of us consider a pursuit of the wealthy, and something which happened in centuries gone by, says Peter Dowdall.

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