WEEKEND WORK

Click to follow
The Independent Online
When leaves start to fall, stretch netting over garden ponds to catch them - an easier proposition than trying to fish out decomposing masses of vegetation in spring.

Lift dahlia tubers when the first frosts hit the plants. There has already been stiff frost in the Inverness area of Scotland. Cut off the blackened stems and leave the tubers to dry in the open air for a day before cleaning off loose soil and storing. Dusting with flowers of sulphur stops tubers going mouldy. The simplest way is to put tubers and sulphur in a polythene bag and shake gently.

In an ideal world, daffodils for naturalising in grass would have been planted in September. The recent rains have at last made the ground slightly more malleable. Deep yellow 'Golden Harvest', creamy white 'Mount Hood' and the pinkish 'Mrs RO Backhouse' are all good stayers.

Blue puschkinia will also naturalise successfully. Puschkinia are like small bluebells, about six inches high, and flourish in sun or half shade. They bloom between March and May. They would be lost in long grass, so try edges of lawns, rockeries or the margins of mixed borders.

Weeds are growing fast in earth that is still warm. Bury them by mulching thickly with compost, or cut them off with a sharp hoe. Watch out for bindweed amongst permanent plantings of shrubs or between soft fruit such as raspberries and blackcurrants. Glyphosate kills it, but you may need to persevere with more than one application.

Clean out greenhouses, scrubbing them inside and out with a disinfectant that will shift pests that thought they had winter board and lodging there. Cleaning the glass helps plants inside to get as much light as possible through winter. Scrape moss gently away from greenhouse roofs. It often collects alongside glazing bars.

Comments