In the Garden Update: Weekend work

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The Independent Online
START to clear out summer bedding plants if you plan to replace them with wallflowers and sweet williams. It is difficult to throw out still-flowering plants, but if you delay too long, the best of the spring bedding will have gone. Choose wallflowers with the growing tips pinched out to make compact, bushy plants.

Lawn edges get tough treatment from dogs and children. You can repair the worst bits by cutting a rectangle of turf behind the edge and then relaying it round the reverse way so that the worn edge is on the inside. Sift a little earth over the join.

Mildew is affecting Michaelmas daisies again. The spores are formed in spring and summer and will overwinter on stems and leaves. Cut out all diseased stems after flowering and burn them. You can control mildew by using a systemic fungicide such as Tumbleblite or Benlate. Start spraying in spring and then at fortnightly intervals through the rest of the season. Novi-belgii types are far more prone than species such as Aster frikartii and Aster thompsonii. Aster amellus varieties are also markedly disease-free.

Start thinking about tender plants and what you are going to do with them during winter. Geraniums are great survivors as long as they are kept frost-free. Cut them down by at least a third or more and box them up in greengrocer-type wooden crates.

Line the box with newspaper or perforated polythene and place the geraniums together in the box, out of their pots. Pack them round with a mixture of sand and compost and keep them fairly dry in a cool, frost-free place.

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