Gardening: Weekend Work

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The Independent Culture
n Tidy up plants that you do not wish to self-seed, such as aquilegia. Cut right down to the ground, these will soon produce mounds of fresh, new foliage. Cut out dead flowering stems from pulmonaria and other such spring-flowering plants.

n Tidy up clumps of iris, cutting out the flower stems and pulling away any withered foliage. Congested clumps can be split up as soon as flowering has finished. Choose plump rhizomes with new roots for replanting and set them so that the rhizome is above soil, with bone meal worked into the ground below.

n Dead head roses and paeonies. The wet weather has caused the flowers of many roses to "ball" and rot on the stem before they have even come out. At least you can prevent the dead petals from smothering the buds to come, which may have better luck.

n Prune gooseberries as soon as you have finished picking the fruit. The bushes are best grown on a short leg, so cut out any growths that are springing from below this leg. Prune to keep the bush open and plenty of space between the branches. The more air that blows through them, the better.

n Continue to sow regular short rows of lettuces and radishes in the hope of achieving a smooth succession of produce. Continue to pinch out side growths from cordon tomatoes. Protect young plants of Brussels sprouts and other succulent greens from pigeons and slugs.

n New dahlia plants should be in the ground now, well protected against slugs. Pinch out the tops of young plants as they grow to make them bushy and tie the stems to strong stakes as soon as the growth becomes heavy. Stop chrysanthemums set out last month.

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