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Weekend work

THERE have been vast clouds of hoverflies in the garden, more than I have ever seen. Consequently, not an aphid in the place. Hooray] Even Artemisia 'Powis Castle' is clean as a whistle after a monster attack of blackfly. That may be the work of ladybirds, as they are perched all over the bushes. One small victory for the natural scheme of things.

Harvesting is my major preoccupation as the vegetable garden comes to fruition. French beans need frequent picking over if they are to contiune to produce. So do courgettes. Onions should be drying off now before being stored. Loganberries and other hybrid berries of this sort need pruning and tying in. Cut out the old fruited canes, removing them from the base of the plant. Tie in the new growths in their place. This is easier if you stretch wires against a wall or fence and train the long growths along these. To increase stock, bury the tips of one or two new canes in the ground. They will quickly root and next year you can detach them and start a new plant.

Among flowers, most work is of the housekeeping kind, removing dead flower heads, cutting back growth of hardy geraniums so that the plants make mounds of fresh new foliage.

Summertime blooms

GRAHAM SHIPHAM of Chiswick, west London, provides an excellent answer to the August doldrums (The Independent, 6 August): Clematis. 'These marvellous plants cover up whole areas of boring shrubs,' he writes. ' 'Venosa Violacea' over a Viburnum bodnantense, 'Etoile Violette', which almost completely covers a large mahonia, and 'Perle d'Azur' on an arch through a 'New Dawn' rose. These all face east. On the west side a velvety 'Gipsy Queen' is flowering profusely over a hedge of Euonymus 'Emerald 'n' Gold'. 'Royal Velours' and 'Gravetye Beauty' weave their way through a large bush of osmanthus and 'Elsa Spath' and 'Ville de Lyon' grow over a Magnolia stellata. I am, I suppose, a clematis freak.'

Lewis Hart of Hadleigh, Suffolk, has a different remedy. 'My garden of about a quarter of an acre in a very dry part of the country has in flower at the moment crocosmia (about 40), penstemon (40 plus), clematis (50 plus), monardas, fuchsias, galegas, lobelias, salvias (Mexican), alliums, loniceras. I could easily include many more.' Mr Hart's garden, at 4 Church Street, is open by appointment (0473 822418).

Danish delight

SOME superb pieces of Royal Copenhagen porcelain from the 18th- century Flora Danica dinner service are on show at Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh. The original Flora, the book that furnished the illustrations used for the porcelain, was 122 years in preparation and the dinner service took almost as long to make. There are more than 1,500 pieces, all with decorations of the most precise botanical accuracy. The exhibition continues until 16 October, admission pounds 3.