Gardening: Weekend Work

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TREES AND shrubs such as cherry, lilac, crab apple and medlar which are normally propagated by grafting may throw up suckers from the rootstock. As with roses, these often grow more strongly than the graft and must be dealt with. Above ground, cut off suckers flush with the trunk. Below ground, take them back as far as you can to the root system before cutting.

SEVERAL TRADITIONAL cottage garden plants - sweet williams, wallflowers and forget-me-nots - are biennials and can be sown in rows outside. Sow the seed as thinly as you can in drills soaked with water. Thompson and Morgan has an old strain of sweet william called `Auricula Eyed Mixed' (pounds 1.29p). Seeds should be up within the month. When they are easy to handle, move them to fresh ground, setting them at least 6in apart in rows. Grow them on until autumn, then set them in their flowering positions. They look good with Alba roses such as `Celeste' or `Great Maiden's Blush'.

GARDEN PINKS can be propagated by taking 3in cuttings of non-flowering shoots and pushing them round the edge of a pot of damp sandy compost. I added several pinks to troughs this season. `Whatfield Magenta' has been a particular success, flowering itself silly with rich scented blooms. So, earlier on, was `La Bourbrille Alba', a delicate froth of tiny white flowers above neat grey leaves.

WHITEFLY IS a plague in greenhouses: toads are the ecological answer. Get one to live under the staging, and you need never suffer insect attacks again. First bribe your toad...

NET YOUR currants and raspberries against squirrels and birds. Blackbirds are the worst offenders and seem oblivious to humming lines, shiny sparklers or any other device.

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