In the Garden Update: Weekend work

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The Independent Online
EARLY apples such as 'Discovery' and 'George Cave' should be picked as soon as the stems part easily from the branches. Peaches and plums may also be ready to pick. The wasps will soon tell you if they are ready or not. Do not leave peaches to ripen fully on the tree or they may drop to the ground. A day in a warm kitchen will finish the job more safely.

Do not be tempted to cut back lily stems when they have flowered. Like daffodils, the lily bulbs suck down all the life left in the stem and leaves above in order to build themselves up for flowering next year.

This is a good time to start preparing sites for new lawns, for sowing later in September. The earth should be well raked and all clods knocked down with a fork to get a fine, even tilth.

Take cuttings of rosemary, lavender, thyme and sage, pulling off shoots about 6in long with a good heel attached and lining them out 2- 3in deep in light sandy soil. Firm down the soil around the cuttings and keep them watered but not drowned.

Clear away peas and broad beans that have finished cropping and compost the haulms. Clear out bolted lettuce and dog-eared radish. Pull onions and leave them to ripen on top of the ground until the green tops have withered away.

Prune rambling roses and climbers that have only one season of flowering. Keep any long new growths that have sprung from the base of the rose and cut out entirely a few of the old growths that flowered this summer.