Weekend Gardening Update: Weekend work

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VARIOUS forms of primrose and polyanthus can be split and replanted as soon as they have finished flowering. Each rosette of leaves can be prised away from the mother clump, with roots attached. Set the new divisions in ground refreshed with bonemeal and compost. Keep well watered until settled. Wilting plants may be victims of the dreaded vine weevil. Dig up affected plants and search through the roots for the fat, white grubs.

Early flowering shrubs such as forsythia can be pruned if necessary, taking out some of the old flowered branches at the base. Over-tall mahonias should also be reduced, by cutting down one or two of the tallest stems by half.

Grass is growing strongly again, but not strongly enough to gain ground from moss. ICI's Grasshopper lawn treatment will encourage the one and dissuade the other as it combines fertiliser with weed and moss killer. It is sold in a special dispensing pack that feeds out granules at the proper rate.

Harden off bedding plants such as petunia and ageratum before planting them out when the weather warms up next month. I have not sown any flower seed outside yet. April has been unseasonably cold and windy, but with luck we can all catch up in May.

If you put on a thick layer of mulch now, you will be helping the soil to retain the moisture it has accumulated (and how) over the winter. A thick layer of organic matter on top of the soil also discourages

annual weeds from germinat

ing. Garden compost, mushroom compost (except around shrubs, such as rhododendron, which hate lime) or a ground bark mulch are all useful.