Gardening: Cuttings

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The Independent Online
Weekend work

THE giant tobacco plant Nicotiana sylvestris, 5ft high with heavily scented clusters of drooping white flowers, has revelled in this summer's heat and is flowering better than ever. Unfortunately, it does not shed its dead and browning flowers as quickly as it should. Pick them off at dusk, when they have lifted themselves horizontal and their smell is at its most seductive.

Old flowered stems of rambling roses should be cut out now. Where these are trained on pergolas, you can, for a few years, get away with snipping round the edges, removing what you can most easily get at. But at intervals, when you are feeling particularly virtuous, you need to untie all the growths, lay them carefully down on the ground and prune properly, taking out a proportion of the old wood at the base of the rose.

Support French beans where necessary, using short lengths of twiggy wood. Pick over the plants frequently to ensure a succession of new pods. Courgettes need the same frequent cropping.

Figs are ripening fast. Unfortunately, wasps love them. Tie paper bags (not plastic ones) around a few choice specimens.

Prune gooseberry bushes when all crops have been picked. Take out crossing branches, keep the little leg on which the bush stands clear of growth, and remove enough branches to keep the centre of the bush clear.

Trim box hedges and topiary, if possible after the trees have enjoyed a good soaking. Where topiary frames are being used, tie in new growth firmly to the supports.

Aiming high

THE Royal National Rose Society has survived the threat of a shooting range that Thaker Properties wanted to build next door. As a result, long-delayed plans for extending the society's garden at Chiswell Green, Hertfordshire, can be put in hand. Today and tomorrow, the society is holding a miniature rose show at the gardens, which are open from 10am to 6pm (admission pounds 4).

Rosy outlook

THE new edition of Find That Rose, the guide to who grows what roses, has just been published, now with a section on rose gardens to visit. Once again, the guide includes a list of top 10 roses, with interesting differences between those chosen by breeders and those grown by amateurs.

The breeders went for Silver Jubilee, which did not feature on the amateurs' list. Favourite old- fashioned roses were 'Canary Bird' with single, yellow, scented flowers on an arching 8ft bush, and the stripey raspberries- and-cream 'Rosa Mundi'.

Bishop's manor

SEVERAL gardens in Nottinghamshire have opened this summer in aid of the Red Cross. Tomorrow (2- 6pm) you can visit Bishops Manor, Southwell. The house is built into part of the old medieval summer palace of the archbishops of York. The ruins enclose various different gardens with roses, borders, an orchard and a vegetable garden. Admission is pounds 1.50