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Weekend work

Split and move aconites and snowdrops, if necessary, working bonemeal into the ground before you replant them. Prune late-summer flowering shrubs such as caryopteris, cutting the strongest stems hard back to a new bud at the base. Take out weak stems altogether. No regular pruning of orange or lemon trees is needed, but you can nip back dominant shoots now if you want a rounded, balanced shape.

Eucalyptus can be stooled back now, too, if you want to grow it as a bush rather than a tree. This means that you keep the juvenile rounded foliage on tap, rather than letting the tree develop the longer leaves of adulthood.

Big, leafy fatshedera can get along without regular pruning, but where it is too big for its boots, you can bring it to heel by pruning back the lateral shoots.

Feed soft fruit such as currants and gooseberries, which are already breaking into leaf, by mulching round their roots.

Rare plant fair

The first of this year's Rare Plant Fairs, organised by nursery owner Derry Watkins and gardener Jane Boyne, takes place today at Bingham Hall, Cirencester, Gloucestershire (11am-4pm). Jane Boyne says she hopes the event will "give keen gardeners the chance to buy plants they would normally only find by plodding through the Plant Finder or driving for miles" from nursery to nursery. Entrance is £1.50.


The great family of rhododendrons is celebrated in a fat catalogue (£1.50 payable in stamps) from Glendoick Gardens where a father and son team, Peter and Kenneth Cox, have gathered a huge collection of rhododendron species and hybrids. The Glendoick Garden Centre on the A85 Perth-Dundee road is open seven days a week. Telephone 0738 860260 for more details. The famous garden is open every Sunday in May (2-5pm). Admission £1.50.

Any questions?

Leeds Castle, just east of Maidstone in Kent, is celebrating spring with a special Gardens Week which runs from today to next Sunday, 2 April. Radio 4's Gardeners' Question Time will be recorded in the Fairfax Hall on 30 March. For details of events phone 0891 800656.