Gardening: Weekend work

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Sow biennials such as double daisies (Bellis perennis), forget- me-nots, foxgloves, honesty (especially the variegated white-flowered one), Icelandic poppies, polyanthus, sweet rocket, Canterbury bells, sweet williams and wallflowers. When plants are in flower, as many of these biennials are now, it is easy to persuade yourself that you need more. The only problem is that seedlings and plants tie up ground for a year while they grow.

Seed can be sown in short rows outside. Water the drills first if the ground is very dry. Transplant the plants in rows when they start to crowd each other. Plant them out in their final positions in September.

Watch out for blackfly homing in on the broad beans; pinch out the tops if necessary. Look at your gooseberries, too. Sawfly caterpillars can strip a bush in no time. Picking them off is a pleasant evening's occupation. What to do with them is more problematic.

Sow French beans, which germinate very quickly when the ground is warm. Water them well if the ground is dry. Make further sowings of lettuce, radish and cress. Pinch out the side shoots of staked tomatoes. Bush tomatoes can be left to their own devices.

Prune out one stem in three of overgrown spring-flowering shrubs such as spiraea. Take the growth out right at the base of the shrub if possible. Rubus tridel also needs cutting back heavily. It is a member of the raspberry family and quickly renews itself, with new canes springing from the base.

Take cuttings from the soft green tips of shrubs such as hebe and potentilla. You can also experiment with layers of wisteria. Peg down a low-growing, vigorous shoot in the soil, securing it with a hoop of bent wire. Tie the end growth of the shoot to an upright cane. If you are patient, this is a good way to acquire a standard wisteria, but it takes years to train it.

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