Gardening: Weekend Work

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The Independent Culture
n Prune plants such as decaisnea where you want to limit their final size. Take out one or two branches entirely. The suckering habit means that the plant will soon throw new growth from near its base.

n Prune other shrubs such as philadelphus, weigela and deutzia in the same way, as soon as they have finished flowering.

n Early-flowering shrub roses such as `Fruhlingsgold' and `Nevada' can also be pruned now if necessary. If left entirely to their own devices, they amass a lot of dead, twiggy growth. Cutting out one or two branches at the base encourages new, fresh growth.

n Tackle bindweed that is growing in between shrubs and herbaceous perennials by untwining the growths carefully and stuffing them all into a polythene sack. Then you can spray the bindweed inside the sack, using a herbicide containing glyphosate, without the spray hitting anything else.

n Indoor plants such as azalea, pelargonium, ivy and Easter cactus can be sent outside now for a summer holiday. Continue to feed them as usual until you bring them back inside in September.

n Take cuttings of African violets. Choose strong, healthy leaves and cut them away from the parent plant with about 2in stem attached. Sink the stalks into a mix made from equal quantities of compost and sand and keep moist and warm (about 65F). When they are rooted, pot the cuttings singly to grow on.

n Stem cuttings of bougainvillea, clianthus, philodendron and stephanotis can also be taken now.

n Attend to tomatoes. Those grown on a single stem need to be trained up a cane and anchored at regular intervals. Nip out any sideshoots growing in axils of the leaves. Feed regularly but do not overwater, to avoid diluting the taste of the fruit.

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