Anna Pavord: Weekend Work

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The Independent Online

What to do

* Rambler roses and other climbing roses that only have one flush of flower should be pruned as soon as the flowers fade. With ramblers, take out one old stem for each new one that has grown. With climbers, cut just above a vigorous new side shoot.

* Cut back helianthemums (rock roses). Delphiniums may give a second late show if you cut down the old flowered stems.

* Take cuttings of Camellia japonica, using half-ripened side shoots. Root the cuttings in pots of sandy soil. August is the prime time for taking cuttings of a wide range of shrubs, such as philadelphus, senecio and grey-leaved artemisias, such as A. arborescens.

* Propagate lavender now too. Choose 7-10cm lengths of non-flowering shoots and stick them in a pot or a shady cold frame in sandy compost. Keep them well watered. Rooted plants can be set out in spring.

* If you can bear to, cut back hard any particularly good violas and pansies that you want to increase. Cover the crowns with a finely sifted mixture of sandy soil. This will encourage the plant to produce some good new growth. You can pull some of these out with a few roots attached and pot them up to grow on as new plants.

* Nasturtiums may need more than dead-heading. Blackfly have been abominably abundant and predators are obviously stretched out on deckchairs rather than gobbling up pests.

* Hedge trimming time is looming up: beech and holly and yew can all be tackled over the next month. An ideal hedge is wider at the bottom than at the top. This lets light get to the lower leaves and keeps bottom growth vigorous.

* Summer pruning of espalier, fan and cordon trained apple and pear trees needs to be tackled. Long, fresh shoots on the main branches should be cut back to three or four leaves above the dorsal cluster. Where spurs have got really knobbly, cut back each shoot leaving only one leaf remaining.

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