Country & garden: Weekend Work

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The Independent Culture
REMOVE ANY shoots that have died back in winter from outdoor abutilon. Large specimens of acacia (mimosa) can be cut back as soon as they have finished flowering if you want to reduce them in size. Otherwise, leave them alone.

ARBUTUS, THE strawberry tree, needs no regular pruning but straggly shoots can be cut right back to the main stem now if necessary. Cut back varieties of Artemisia absinthium (which include `Powis Castle' and `Lambrook Silver') to within six inches of the ground.

DECIDUOUS CEANOTHUS, such as `Gloire de Versailles' and `Marie Simon' should be cut hard back. Shorten last year's growths to within three inches of the old wood. Evergreen varieties need no regular pruning but where late summer flowering types such as `Autumnal Blue' are outgrowing their allotted space, you can shorten the lateral growths now.

AUCUBA (SPOTTY laurel) can be hacked back now to within two or three feet of the ground. The grey-leaved shrub, ballota should be cut back by half.

OVER-VIGOROUS forms of evergreen cotoneaster can also be cut back now. Try to retain the characteristic outline of each shrub when you make your cuts.

THE CHILEAN glory flower, Eccremocarpus, is a rampant but short-lived perennial climber. It is not reliably hardy, so frosted, dead growths may need to be cut out now.

FORSYTHIA SHOULD be pruned as soon as it has finished flowering. Take out some of the old branches at ground level each year on a three-year rotation. Forsythia hedges can be trimmed over when the flowers have finished. Do not trim them again until next spring, or you will have no flowers.

LEGGY SPECIMENS of hebe can be cut hard back now, to force new shoots to spring from the base. Generally, however, this shrub can be left alone.

OVERGROWN BUSHES of rosemary can also be tackled now, but not so harshly. Trim all the shoots back by half.

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