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Welcome the (back garden) jungle!

Voice Of EU

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A plant collector has spent £15,000 on more than 250 tropical plants for her house and back garden.

Hannah McFarlane, 39, who lives near Winchester, Hampshire, bought her first home in September 2017 and wanted to completely transform the small, unloved garden into a tropical paradise after being inspired by her travels.

Hannah was inspired by favourite holiday destinations including Bali, the Caribbean, Costa Rica, and Miami and decided to re-imagine the ordinary 60sqm space into a back garden oasis complete with a homemade Tiki bar, wooden pergola, driftwood stepping stones, and a big tropical centrepiece.

The magic continues inside, where she has used houseplants to turn the two-storey home into an ‘indoor jungle’. 

BEFORE: Hannah McFarlane, 39, who lives near Winchester, Hampshire, bought her first home in September 2017 and wanted to completely transform the small, unloved garden (pictured) into a tropical paradise after being inspired by her travels

BEFORE: Hannah McFarlane, 39, who lives near Winchester, Hampshire, bought her first home in September 2017 and wanted to completely transform the small, unloved garden (pictured) into a tropical paradise after being inspired by her travels

AFTER: Hannah re-imagined the ordinary 60sqm space into a back garden oasis complete with a homemade Tiki bar, wooden pergola, driftwood stepping stones, and a big tropical centrepiece, pictured at night

AFTER: Hannah re-imagined the ordinary 60sqm space into a back garden oasis complete with a homemade Tiki bar, wooden pergola, driftwood stepping stones, and a big tropical centrepiece, pictured at night

Welcome to the jungle! The magic continues inside where Hannah (pictured) maintains some 150 plants of varying sizes

Welcome to the jungle! The magic continues inside where Hannah (pictured) maintains some 150 plants of varying sizes

Hannah explained: ‘When I bought my house, I could see that the garden had huge potential so I started renovating it in March 2018 and that’s when I began to transform the house into an indoor jungle.

‘I’ve always loved gardening but I’ve never had my own house but I never had the chance to create something of my own.

‘I love the tropical feel of being on holiday and I’ve tried to recreate it. People can’t believe I’m living in the UK from my pictures. I have around 150 tropical house plants and a lot more in the garden.’

Hannah admitted her tropical plants can be ‘quite expensive’ and can be difficult to source. Her priciest purchase was a Trachycarpus Wagnerianus, also known as a ‘Waggie’ or ‘no fuss’ palm tree, which cost £395.  

She continued: ‘The most I have spent on an indoor houseplant is £180, it’s a rare Jewel Alocasia from Borneo called Alocasia Melo.

Drinks are served: Hannah can entertain family and friends at her homemade tiki bar, set in the tropical garden

Drinks are served: Hannah can entertain family and friends at her homemade tiki bar, set in the tropical garden

Voyage of discovery: A beautiful path leads through the mature garden to the shed tucked away at the back

Voyage of discovery: A beautiful path leads through the mature garden to the shed tucked away at the back

Finishing touches: Hannah has added signposts to the garden, showing some of her holiday inspirations

Hannah surrounded by some of her plants

Finishing touches: Hannah (pictured right) has added signposts to the garden, showing some of her holiday inspirations

From ordinary... to extraordinary! Pedestrians walking past Hannah's two-storey home would never know about the amazing tropical garden at the back of the house

From ordinary… to extraordinary! Pedestrians walking past Hannah’s two-storey home would never know about the amazing tropical garden at the back of the house

‘You have to be mindful when purchasing certain rare houseplants that are imported because sadly some of them can be poached from the wild. I would recommend doing your research and buying from local growers and local private sellers.

‘Most of the plants I find are from various sites online – private sellers, online shops, and garden centres and it can be difficult sourcing some of them’. 

After years of work, Hannah is now nearing the end of her garden project but wants add ‘nautical style decking’. 

Surprisingly, she says the garden only takes a ‘couple of hours of work a week’ to maintain.     

‘Some of the plants in the garden I have to wrap in hot horticultural fleece in the winter and a couple I have to dig up and dry store in my home but the rest are suitable for winter,’ she said.

Personal paradise! Hannah wanted to recreate the feeling of being on holiday with her vibrant homemade tiki bar

Personal paradise! Hannah wanted to recreate the feeling of being on holiday with her vibrant homemade tiki bar  

Worth the money: Hannah admitted her tropical plants can be 'quite expensive' and can be difficult to source. Her priciest purchase was a Trachycarpus Wagnerianus, also known as a 'Waggie' or 'no fuss' palm tree, which cost £395

Worth the money: Hannah admitted her tropical plants can be ‘quite expensive’ and can be difficult to source. Her priciest purchase was a Trachycarpus Wagnerianus, also known as a ‘Waggie’ or ‘no fuss’ palm tree, which cost £395

A holiday at home: Visitors tell Hannah that going to her garden is like going on holiday. Pictured, some of the vibrant plants that surround the path through the garden, with a signpost for the beach

A holiday at home: Visitors tell Hannah that going to her garden is like going on holiday. Pictured, some of the vibrant plants that surround the path through the garden, with a signpost for the beach

‘To keep the indoor plants happy all year round, I have grow lights, a water distiller and humidifiers. Some of the plants are more difficult to keep happy than others.

‘There are plants in most of the rooms but I keep a large collection of my most treasured plants in the living room.

‘Once a week I’ll water all the plants in the house and that can take up to three hours and if it’s hot, I’ll have to water the garden every morning.

‘My oldest house plant is 15 years old. I’ve always had little a couple of house plants even from a young age. Plants make the house really cosy and it’s very therapeutic looking after them.

‘When people come into the house, they say it’s like going on a little retreat abroad.

‘My advice to anyone who wants to build their plant collection is to do some research online first and find out about how to look after them.’

TLC: Hannah can spend up to three hours a week watering the plants and said some of the ones in the garden (pictured) need extra care when the temperature drops over winter

TLC: Hannah can spend up to three hours a week watering the plants and said some of the ones in the garden (pictured) need extra care when the temperature drops over winter

Pride and joy: Hannah has houseplants on display throughout the house but has some of her favourites on show in the living room

Pride and joy: Hannah has houseplants on display throughout the house but has some of her favourites on show in the living room 

Cheers to that! The homeowner said she is nearly finished with her garden paradise but wants to add nautical decking

Cheers to that! The homeowner said she is nearly finished with her garden paradise but wants to add nautical decking

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Zappone turns down invitation to appear before committee to discuss envoy role

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Former minister Katherine Zappone has turned down an invitation to appear before an Oireachtas committee to explain the circumstances surrounding her now-scrapped appointment as a special envoy.

The chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan confirmed on Monday that Ms Zappone had declined an invitation to attend to discuss the matter.

The committee, which met last Wednesday in private session, agreed to write to the former minister and invite her to appear before it.

It is understood the decision was taken at a private meeting after it was proposed by Sinn Féin spokesman on foreign affairs John Brady and his Social Democrats counterpart Gary Gannon.

The committee is also to invite Martin Fraser, the secretary general of the Department of the Taoiseach and the State’s highest-ranking civil servant, to address the issue of precisely when Ms Zappone’s name was communicated to the Department of the Taoiseach.

Controversy erupted over an attempt by Minister of Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney to appoint Ms Zappone as a special envoy for freedom of expression and LGBTQ+ rights.

Mr Coveney – who is attending UN meetings this week in New York – last week faced down a motion of no confidence as a result of his handling of the matter.

Earlier this month, Mr Coveney told the Oireachtas Committee Ms Zappone was mistaken in her belief she had been offered the job last March.

Mr Coveney also rejected claims that Ms Zappone lobbied for the position or that he breached Freedom of Information legislation by deleting texts between himself and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar.

However, Mr Coveney apologised for “sloppiness”, and for making mistakes in the past few weeks.

Records released by the Department of Foreign Affairs show Ms Zappone texted Mr Coveney to thank him on March 4th “so, so much for offering me this incredible opportunity”.

In mid-July she sent another message of thanks but Mr Coveney has insisted nothing had been formally agreed until it came to Cabinet on July 27th.

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Lori Loughlin and fashion designer husband drop $13M on Palm Desert vacation home

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Former Full House actress, Lori Loughlin, and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, have dropped $13million on a gated Palm Desert, California, oasis, following their release from prison for their involvement in the college-admissions scandal.  

Loughlin, who was released from prison in December, with her husband following in April, appear to be celebrating their newfound freedom with the purchase of their vacation getaway in the La Quinta community.

The five-bedroom, 5.5 bathroom home, situated in the guard-gated exclusive Madison Club, comes lavished with several amenities, including a wine cellar, movie theater, two pools, two spas, a wet bar and an outdoor projector-theater.  

Former Full House actress, Lori Loughlin, and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, have dropped $13million on a gated Palm Desert, California, oasis, following their release from prison for their involvement in the college-admissions scandal.

Former Full House actress, Lori Loughlin, and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, have dropped $13million on a gated Palm Desert, California, oasis, following their release from prison for their involvement in the college-admissions scandal.

The open dining and living room area is perfect for watching L.A sunsets

The open dining and living room area is perfect for watching L.A sunsets 

The home comes equipped with several outdoor fireplaces, perfect for entertaining guests on chilly evenings

The home comes equipped with several outdoor fireplaces, perfect for entertaining guests on chilly evenings 

Opulent swimming pools encompass the outdoor area, in addition to an outdoor projector for watching films

Opulent swimming pools encompass the outdoor area, in addition to an outdoor projector for watching films 

The home comes lavished with several amenities, including a wine cellar, movie theater, two pools, outdoor fireplaces, two spas, a wet bar and an outdoor projector-theater

The home comes lavished with several amenities, including a wine cellar, movie theater, two pools, outdoor fireplaces, two spas, a wet bar and an outdoor projector-theater 

Former 'Full House' actress, Lori Loughlin, (right) and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, (left) have dropped $13 million on a gated Palm Desert, California, oasis

Former ‘Full House’ actress, Lori Loughlin, (right) and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, (left) have dropped $13 million on a gated Palm Desert, California, oasis

Built in 2019, the home was formally owned by Assurance co-founder Michael Rowell and his wife, Alexis, who purchased it for only $9.5 million. 

A few of their neighbors include Kris Jenner, Kourtney Kardashian, Nike’s Phil Knight, Cindy Crawford and Scooter Braun. 

The purchase comes a year after Loughlin and Giannulli bought a $9.5 million modern farmhouse in the Hidden Hills area of Los Angeles.      

A federal judge in Boston recently granted Loughlin ‘expedited’ permission to travel to Canada to possibly rekindle her career. The request was necessary as she remains on probation.

The five-bedroom, 5.5 bathroom home is situated in the guard-gated exclusive Madison Club in the La Quinta community

The five-bedroom, 5.5 bathroom home is situated in the guard-gated exclusive Madison Club in the La Quinta community

Built in 2019, the home was formally owned by Assurance co-founder Michael Rowell and his wife, Alexis, who purchased it for only $9.5 million

Built in 2019, the home was formally owned by Assurance co-founder Michael Rowell and his wife, Alexis, who purchased it for only $9.5 million

An large dining area opens out onto the terrace, as an intricate chandelier hangs from the ceiling

An large dining area opens out onto the terrace, as an intricate chandelier hangs from the ceiling

Also featured in the amenities is a chic, oversized wine cellar

Also featured in the amenities is a chic, oversized wine cellar 

Loughlin was unable to travel due to her prison sentence and ensuing community service commitments stemming from her involvement in the ‘Operation Varsity Blues’ scheme, which involved wealthy parents paying large sums of money to get their kids into elite universities.    

‘Ms. Loughlin anticipates she will be traveling for about one week’ and is ‘being offered a filming production project’ if granted permission, her initial request sent by a probation official stated.   

It emerged in 2019 that Lori and Giannulli bribed their daughters Olivia and Isabella’s way into University Of Southern California.

Lori and her fashion designer husband paid $500,000 to falsely pass the girls off as potential college rowers on USC’s rowing team.

Although they initially claimed to be innocent, Mossimo pled guilty last May to conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and honest services and mail fraud, while Lori pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud.  

Giannulli was sentenced to five months, while Loughlin served two months behind bars.

It emerged in 2019 that Lori and Giannulli bribed their daughters Olivia and Isabella's way into University Of Southern California

It emerged in 2019 that Lori and Giannulli bribed their daughters Olivia and Isabella’s way into University Of Southern California

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Tenor fails to rent home as work in Covid-hit sector deemed precarious

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An Irish tenor, who has performed for presidents and emperors and been shortlisted for a Grammy award, is struggling to rent a home in Dublin because of a perception that working in the Covid-19-hit entertainment industry makes him a risk.

Paul Byrom said he was “knocked for six” last week after a potential landlord refused to even meet him on the grounds that the pandemic had made his profession singularly unsuitable for the rental market.

Byrom has earned his living as a musician for more than 20 years and has performed for Emperor Akihito of Japan, former Irish presidents Mary McAleese and Mary Robinson and former US president Barack Obama.

He was one of the original soloists in the Celtic Thunder show that toured the world and had number one albums on the World Billboard Chart. A solo album, This is the Moment, debuted at number one on the same chart and was shortlisted for a Grammy nomination.

Byrom has continued to work online during the pandemic and is looking forward to restarting his live career soon. “I am no Bono, but I am not starting out in the game,” he said.

However, none of his achievements appear to have been good enough for one Dublin landlord. Byrom said he and his girlfriend were keen to move to a bigger home and found a two-bedroom house in south county Dublin advertised at a rent of €2,000 a month.

‘Exemplary tenant’

It was being let by the estate agent which manages the property the couple currently live in and he was assured that, as an “exemplary tenant” for more than three years, his application would most likely be considered favourably.

“The estate agents said that while it was looking after the letting, it wouldn’t be the management company and the guy who owned it would be the point of contact,” Byrom said. “I was told that the landlord would want to meet me and I had no problem with any of that – I thought that made sense.”

He and his girlfriend assembled all the paperwork including her payslips and details of his earnings from his accountant. “I had moved in in my head but then I got a phone call saying the application had been rejected,” he said.

His mother joked that he had been turned down “because the landlord didn’t want you practising your Ave Maria’s at 10 in the morning.”

But that was not the reason. It emerged that the “landlord thought that because Covid had hit my industry hard he would be too nervous to take me on. He simply didn’t want anyone from the entertainment industry,” Byrom said.

Mortgage

He said struggling to rent or get a mortgage were not the only issues entertainers encounter.

“Try and look for car insurance as a singer and the companies don’t want to know. So I can’t drive a car or rent a home or even take advantage of the bike to work tax scheme because I am self employed.

“And this is a country that claims to be the land of the bards and the poets. The amount of roadblocks put in an entertainer’s way are just crazy, but then they will say get out there and sing Danny Boy and represent the country. You’d have to wonder if Ireland wants artists to be here at all.”


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