Gardening / Cuttings: Weekend work

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TIDY UP plants that you do not wish to self-seed, such as aquilegia. Cut right down to the ground: they will produce mounds of fresh new foliage. Cut out dead flowering stems from pulmonaria and other such spring flowering plants.

Tidy up clumps of iris, cutting out the flower stems and pulling away any withered foliage. Congested clumps can be split up as soon as flowering has finished. Choose plump, fat rhizomes with new roots for replanting, and set the rhizome above the soil, with bonemeal worked in below.

Dead-head roses and peonies. The wet weather has caused flowers of many roses to 'ball' and rot on the stem before they could bloom; at least you can prevent the dead petals from smothering the buds to come, which may have better luck.

Prune gooseberries as soon as you have finished picking the fruit. The bushes are best grown on a short leg, so cut out any growths springing from below. Prune to keep the bush open and plenty of space between the branches; the more air that blows through them the better.

Continue to sow regular short rows of lettuce and radish in the hope of achieving a smooth succession of produce. Continue to pinch out side growths from cordon tomatoes. Protect young brussels sprouts and other succulent greens from pigeons and slugs. I saved them from one only to have them massacred by the other.

New dahlia plants should be in the ground now, well protected against slugs. Pinch out the tops of young plants as they grow, to make them bushy, and tie the stems to strong stakes as soon as the growth becomes heavy.

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