Gardening: Cuttings: Weekend work

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THE first consignment of potted bulbs is already flowering in the kitchen. These are 'Paperwhite' narcissuses, small flowers, but with lots of them clustered on the stem and an outrageously swoony smell. They will sometimes flower in as little as six weeks after planting.

Check other potted bulbs such as hyacinths, which are slower to develop. They should be kept in a cool, dark resting place - bring them out when the flower spike is visible above the soil. Mice will sometimes nibble the new growth. Set traps if necessary.

Think about seed orders. There is a far wider selection in nurserymen's catalogues than you will find in a garden centre. I still have blooms on a snapdragon called 'Night and Day' (Mr Fothergill 99p), which has dark, velvety red flowers set against bronzy green foliage. The flowers have white throats. It would have done even better if I had propped it up with twiggy sticks before it started to flop. It grows to about 18in. I sowed the seed on 10 March and it germinated in 18 days. The seed needs light to germinate.

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