Weekend Work

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PRUNE GOOSEBERRY bushes when the crop is over. Take out crossing branches, keep the little leg on which the bush stands clear of growth, and remove enough branches to keep the centre of the bush clear.

THE GIANT tobacco plant Nicotiana sylvestris, 5ft high with heavily scented clusters of drooping white flowers, has revelled in the recent heat and is flowering wonderfully. I was admiring it this week in the garden at Kelmarsh, Northants. But it does not shed its dead and browning flowers as quickly as it should. Pick them off at dusk, when the flowers have lifted themselves horizontal and their smell is at its most seductive.

OLD FLOWERED stems of rambling roses should be cut out now. Where these are trained on pergolas, you can, for a few years, get away with snipping round the edges, removing what you can most easily get at. But at intervals, when you are feeling particularly virtuous, you need to untie all the growths, lay them carefully down on the ground and prune properly, taking out a proportion of the old wood at the base of the rose.

SUPPORT FRENCH beans where necessary, using short lengths of twiggy wood. Pick over the plants frequently to ensure a succession of new pods. Courgettes also need to be cropped regularly.

FIGS ARE ripening fast. Sadly, wasps love them. Tie paper bags (not plastic) round choice specimens.

TRIM BOX hedges and topiary, if possible after the trees have had a good soak. Where topiary frames are being used, tie in new growth firmly to the supports.