Gardening: weekend work

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The Independent Online
Prune out the old stems of cultivated blackberries and tie in new stems for next season. If horizontal growth suits your space better than vertical, grow the canes on stiff metal sheep-netting fixed between two rows of waist-high stakes.

Take hardwood cuttings of currants and gooseberries. Take cuttings only from healthy stock plants, so as not to perpetuate blights such as gooseberry mildew.

Plant conifers and hedges of evergreens now so that they can make new roots; otherwise wait until Easter. A windbreak of fine-mesh plastic netting (or old muslin curtains) helps greatly in the first year.

The last cut of the lawn year is looming. Do not cut too close, and pick up the cuttings, even if you do not usually do so, as if they lie on the grass at this fag end of the season they will encourage fungal diseases.

Plant tulips. How could you not? There are still plenty in garden centres. My list this year includes "Carnaval de Nice", raised in 1953 by Van Tubergen. It is a showy double late variety, with white flowers and leaves thinly edged with white. I'm also trying "Fidelio", a Triumph tulip for early May.

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