Gardening: Cuttings: Weekend work

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The Independent Online
TACKLE overgrown lilac by cutting out some of the older branches entirely at ground level. This will rejuvenate the bush and encourage the production of fresh young shoots from the base. Without this sort of regular attention, lilacs grow tall, leggy and less productive. Dead-head the rest of the bush, cutting spent flowers back to the first pair of leaves below the flower head. The ornamental rubus, Tridel 'Benenden', also needs to be pruned as soon as it has finished flowering. Cut out about one-third of the stems at ground level.

Set out plants of the cabbagey sort, such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli and curly kale. Field- grown plants are much stronger than the container-grown variety. Leeks, celery and celeriac can be planted out now and sowings made of beetroot, late carrots and kohlrabi.

Take cuttings of perennial wallflowers such as 'Harpur Crewe' and 'Constant Cheer'. Pull off lateral shoots about 2in long and with a heel, and push them into some sandy compost. The climbing hydrangea, H. petiolaris, can be increased from cuttings of vigorous side shoots.

If possible, tear off rose suckers - their leaves are smaller than those of the proper rose - because digging them out may injure the rootstock.

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