Country & Garden: Weekend Work

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The Independent Culture
AUTUMN SPRAWLERS such as mallow can be cut right back to the base of the plant now. New shoots will replace the old in spring. Do not cut back slightly tender plants such as penstemons. They are not truly herbaceous and, in a warmer climate, would remain evergreen. Cutting them back now may induce them to put out fresh shoots that would be massacred in the first frosts.

CHECK THAT bulbs you are forcing inside for early flowering have not dried out. The compost should be damp, but not soggy. For a succession, continue to plant hyacinths, early tulips (pictured) and hippeastrums for indoor flowering.

PLANT NEW trees and shrubs this month so that the roots have a chance to settle before the spring growing-season. Guy Fawkes Day marks the beginning of the digging-up season for those nurseries that still send out bare- root trees and shrubs, the old-fashioned way. The root systems are usually very much better than those of trees that have been grown in containers.

CLEAR IVY, Virginia creeper and other invasive climbers away from gutters, roofs and windows - not a pleasant job, but creepers are insidious in their wanderings and can easily block vital down-pipes if they are not checked.

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