Country & Garden: Weekend Work

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THERE ARE several hardy annuals that will make a good show early next year if they are sown outside now in the place where you want them to flower. Sow them as thinly as possible, cover lightly with sifted soil and firm down the earth on top of the seeds. Then protect them with netting against cats and birds until the seedlings are established. Don't do any thinning out until next spring. Annuals such as poppies (pictured), calendula, larkspur, limnanthes (known as fried eggs, because each flower has a yellow centre surrounded by white-tipped petals), love-in-a-mist, clarkia and cornflowers can all be treated in this fashion.

CUT BACK chives, marjoram, mint and oregano to about 3in off the ground. This will encourage them to make fresh growth that you can use during winter.

TAKE CUTTINGS of shrubs such as berberis, phlomis and potentilla. They will root most easily in a light mixture of peat and sand or vermiculite. Choose shoots that are between 6in and 9in long and pull them off the parent bush so that each has a bit of "heel" (part of the older wood) attached. Bury them about 3in deep and firm the compost down around them.

AFTER PICKING the last of the peaches and nectarines, you will need to prune wall-trained trees. The first job is to cut out the old fruited shoots and tie in as many new growths as you can fit in to replace them. Take out entirely any shoots that grow straight out of the front of the tree at right angles to the wall or fence.

TAKE CUTTINGS from fuchsias, geraniums and other tender perennials such as helichrysum, osteospermum and felicia. Overwinter in a greenhouse or similar shelter.