Gardening Update: Weekend work

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The Independent Online
NOW is a good time to plant autumn flowering bulbs. Clumps of nerines, colchicums and sternbergias can be divided and replanted. It is a good idea to carefully mark the position of lily bulbs, which will be dying back, in case you accidentally dig them up or damage them.

This is the time of year when you should carry a pair of secateurs every time you go into the garden. Roses need endless deadheading; also, remove branches of plain green leaves on variegated trees and shrubs. If you don't, the plant will eventually lose its variegation.

lt is also an excellent time to take semi-ripe cuttings of shrubs such as hebe, lavender, berberis, daphne, ribes and viburnums. Don't stint, you can always swap extra plants with friends.

Harvest beans, peas, courgettes and salad crops and give brassicas a good watering. Make arrangements for plants to be watered and crops picked if you are going on holiday. Hanging baskets and window boxes could be farmed out to friends and neighbours, who will get pleasure from them and will not have to travel so far to give them a daily dousing. Alternatively, invest in an automatic watering device.