Country & Garden: Weekend Work

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The Independent Culture
THERE IS still pruning to be done. If you have just planted a young fruiting cherry, shorten the leading branches by half and continue to do this for the next four years. As the trees mature, you have to leave them pretty much to their own devices, taking out only wood that's died or whole branches that are rubbing or crossing.

ELDERS GROWN for their decorative foliage also need regular pruning. If you cut all the stems to ground level, you get the best leaves, but sacrifice the flowers. Cut a third of the stems down to the ground each year instead. That way you can have both.

THE SNOWBERRY, Symphoricarpos albus, gets overgrown as it ages. Thin out some of the most densely twiggy stems, cutting them down at ground level.

LILAC ALSO benefits from regular thinning out of growths. Remove any weak or crossing branches. To rejuvenate an old, evergrown bush, cut the whole thing down to within 2ft of the ground. You will not have any flowers for the next two years, but it's worth the sacrifice.

CONTINUE TO plant tulips. They are excellent in tubs and windowboxes, especially the shorter varieties and those with decoratively striped leaves. "Alfred Cortot" is brilliant red with a jet-black base and only 8ins high. "The First" flowers in March with white blooms tinted on the backs of the petals with deep pink.