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by Joanna Cunningham Beautiful innocence

of this responsibility was the cause of immeasurable joy and anticipation bordering on hysteria.

During the weeks leading up to the event, the girls discussed the following: their dresses, their jewellery, their shoes, the sleeves of their dresses, their tiaras, their hair, the horse drawn carriage in which they would travel to the wedding (this later evolved into their unicorn drawn carriage), the thrones on which they would sit, the balcony where the first kiss would take place and finally some discussion was given to whether or not they would be brought on the honeymoon.

My husband, my children and I decamped to Kerry recently for the wedding of close friends. There was much anticipation and excitement particularly in view of the fact that the older two girls were invited to be flower girls. Ordinarily an invitation like this to a four and five year old would be the source of great excitement and indeed it was. However, with the ‘royal wedding’ playing a strong role in the backdrop to the girls’ imaginations, the prospect


With the arrival of October you can see from the garden that autumn is slipping by and that winter is just around the corner. This is a beautiful time of the year with the leaves changing colour, although not everyone will appreciate this as there seems to be constant leaf raking to be done.

Regularly rake up leaves from your lawn to prevent them blocking light and air penetrating through to the grass. Cut back faded perennials and add them


to your compost heap. Any remaining summer bedding plants are best removed and replaced to freshen up your beds. Continue to plant spring flowering bulbs. Don’t neglect your hanging baskets, once they are past their best clear them out and re- plant them with either spring-flowering bulbs, winter heathers, trailing ivies or spring bedding plants. Move tender plants including aquatic ones indoors into the greenhouse or shed. Avoid feeding your plants late in the season as this will encourage soft, sappy growth which is more vulnerable to damage from frost or from wet. Grey mould (Botrytis) can be a problem in wet conditions, remove affected leaves or parts as soon as the symptoms are seen.

This month is your last chance to mow your lawn or trim your hedges to keep them looking tidy over the winter. Digging the soil, especially bare patches or newly cultivated land will expose many pest

The bride, an individual adored by all children, indulged these conversations and perhaps enjoyed the fantasy perspective. The view of her wedding day through the eyes of two tiny girls was, she assured me, a wonderful one. I had to remind her from time to time, though, that reality would have to be communicated to them at some point in case my five year old really did go ahead and Irish dance down the aisle.

In any case, on the morning of the wedding the girls’ grandmother rang to wish them luck. She knew they would be magnificent and impeccably behaved and that she couldn’t wait to see photos of them

in their dresses. “Don’t worry,” my four year old assured her encouragingly, “you’ll be able to see us on telly!”

Suffice it to say I adore the wonder and brilliance which illuminates their view of the world. It is an innocence that should be nurtured along with Santa, the tooth fairy, witches, wizards, magic and mystery. Parents of older children often say, ‘savour this time, it passes in a flash’. This can be a source of anxiety on occasion. Short of stopping the clock I wonder how can we relish and chew on every special moment given that the most amazing thing might happen while emptying the dishwasher or during the school run or while hanging out the clothes or changing a particularly offensive nappy. As the phases pass, though, I realise that with each stage there is a fresh set of funny moments and incidents through which my children reveal themselves and witnessing the blossoming of a person who is your child must be the greatest privilege of all!

Joanna Cunningham is the creator of the

‘SMARTS Programme - an Early Intervention Arts Based Behavioural Support Programme for Junior and Senior Infants’ -

by Martin Doyle October - jobs to do in the garden

larvae and eggs to birds and frosts, as well as clearing weeds and improving soil structure. Don’t leave soil uncovered for too long, however, as it runs the risk of erosion and washing away of valuable nutrients. Black polythene sheeting will protect it in the absence of planting or mulch.

If you have not yet fixed or replaced any

leaking shed roofs, broken glasshouse panes, or worn glazing putty and lost glazing clips, then now is your last chance to do so before the greenhouse is full of tender plants. Consider laying paths or stepping-stones across main routes of access, so that your lawn is not spoiled by treading on it during the winter months. Get your lawnmower, hedge trimmer or any other garden power tools serviced now in preparation for next year.

Home and Garden Creations 087-6524421

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