Cuttings: Weekend work

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The Independent Online
SPLIT clumps of snowdrops and aconites as they finish flowering and replant the bulbs with a handful of bonemeal to encourage them. Snowdrops look particularly good in ivy. Aconites seem to flourish in the sort of starved grass you get under deciduous trees.

Many roses have not lost their foliage at all this winter, which makes pruning seem more daunting, but if you have not already tackled them, do it immediately. Start by cutting out dead wood, then all spindly stems and suckers. That will be enough for old- fashioned roses. Hybrid teas need sterner treatment: follow each stem up from the bottom until you come to a likely-looking outward- facing bud and cut the stem off above the bud. That is the tidy way. The quick way is to shear over the top of HT roses with a hedge clipper.

Tired box hedges can be boosted with a dressing of some general fertiliser such as Growmore or Vitax Q4. Use roughly 2oz for every yard of hedge. If box hedges have become hideously leggy, try cutting them back hard, leaving no more than 4-5in of stem. Feed when they show signs of resprouting. They may not. Box is less forgiving than yew.

Cut shrubs such as rubus, grown for their coloured winter stems, to the ground. If you have not already done so, shear off the old foliage of periwinkle to make way for the new shoots now springing up through the dross.

Summer-flowering bulbs should be planted as soon as possible. Parkers of 452 Chester Road, Manchester M16 9HL, is offering 10 nerines for pounds 2 (plus VAT), and a wide selection of lilies, including 10 'Mont Blanc' for pounds 3.25 (plus VAT), and 10 of the bright-yellow July-flowering 'Sunray' for pounds 2.75 (plus VAT).

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