Anna Pavord: Weekend Work

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The Independent Online

What to do

* Cyclamen corms that have been resting can be started into growth again now in a greenhouse. Clean off all the old leaves, shake any loose soil off and repot each corm in the smallest pot that it will fit into. Use John Innes No 1 compost or its equivalent and set the corm so that the top just shows above the compost. Spray every day with tepid water to start into growth. Do not bring the plant into the house until there are at least four to six flowers in bud.

* In hot, dry weather, remember your camellias, especially if they are growing in pots. Flower buds are being initiated now for next spring's display. If the plant is too dry, it will not have the strength to produce these buds.

* Over the next month, take cuttings of tender fuchsias and geraniums. Choose strong, healthy shoots for geraniums and crop off the top four inches. Trim the cutting to a point immediately below a leaf joint, remove all mature leaves and any flower buds and pot them up in a mixture of compost and sand. Do not cover them.

* Stem cuttings can be taken of hibiscus, hydrangea, kolkwitzia and perovskia (Russian sage). This last is a useful plant, like a tall shrubby catmint, which flowers from August to September.

* Well-established hedges of beech, hornbeam, privet and yew should be clipped this month. Box, holly, laurel and Leyland cypress should also be tackled if necessary. If you leave the clipping of these much later, new growth will be cut back by frost.



What to visit

Sir George Sitwell, who about a hundred years ago laid out the garden at Renishaw Hall in Derbyshire, is a hero of mine. He dreamed of blue-painted cows to brighten the coal dusted pastures of his estate. He commanded his land agent to provide a stone boat to decorate his lake and an aqueduct to frame a favourite view. The Renishaw garden was his greatest achievement and it is the setting tomorrow (10.30am-4pm) for a specialist plant sale. Twenty-five nurseries will be there selling a wide range of plants.

Admission to the sale is £1; to the garden, £5. Contact Val Woolley on 0115-983 0278 for more details.

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