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Weekend work

Despite the appallingly soggy conditions, I am continuing to sow seed. This week I started off Lychnis coronaria `Occulata' (Thompson & Morgan £1.69), a form of the old-fashioned Dusty Miller which has white flowers with pink eyes. The colour deepens in rays that spread from the centre almost to the edges of the petals.

The leaves are grey, faintly woolly and make substantial clumps in early summer before the flower stems start to push up. The flowers come out over a long period from July to September on a plant about two and a half feet tall.

On our damp soil, the clumps eventually rot and, with us, lychnis has never been more than a short-lived perennial. On dry soils it seeds profusely and the clumps last longer as they overwinter less soggily.

Rich mulch

London Conservation Services, the commercial wing of the London Wildlife Trust, will deliver Rich Earth mulch to the door of anyone living in the London area.

The mulch, made by composting a mix of cow manure and woodland waste, contains 4 per cent nitrogen and 2 per cent each of phosphate and potash. You can use it as a planting medium, to improve soil that is too light or too heavy or as a mulch around

ornamental plants. The mulch is delivered loose.

The equivalent of an 80-litre bag costs £6.39. The LCS will also spread the mulch for you if you pay a higher price of £7.80 per 80 litres. There is a minimum order of 20 bags.

Full details from London Conservation Services, 80 York Way, London N1 9AG (071-278 6606).