Weekend work

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The Independent Online
Weekend work

Remove runners from strawberry plants unless you want to build up stock. Thin outdoor peaches and apricots if you have an abundance, leaving one fruit for each foot of branch.

Start to earth up early potatoes. Sow more short rows of lettuce, radish, cress and a final row of peas. Earlier rows of peas may need supporting with nets or peasticks.

Trim hedges of Berberis darwinii as soon as the flowers are over. Take out entirely some of the old flowered branches of shrubs such as forsythia and Rubus tridel 'Benenden'.

Put up bird scarers where you grow soft fruit. We have found that the foil-lined bags inside wine boxes make effective barrage balloons, blown up and tied to posts in the fruit patch.

Continue to plant out summer bedding in containers, watering the plants well. I used some water retentive mats to line an old manger before refilling it with fresh compost and this has made watering it very much easier.

Aphids have been building up in extraordinary numbers on the new foliage of hellebores such as H. x sternii and H. corsicus. If you reach for a bottle, ensure it is a potion, such as Zeneca's Rapid, that kills aphids only.

If you can, plant out angels' trumpets (daturas) that have been overwintering in pots in a conservatory or greenhouse. They will be far more likely to flower well in the unchecked confines of a border, but it needs to be one that gets plenty of sun and no wind. The rootball is not extensive, so in the autumn the plant can be lifted and repotted before going under cover again.

Deadhead rhododendrons to encourage new growth. Be careful not to break off the downy new shoots which grow at the tip of each branch. Clean up camellia bushes to get rid of unsightly bunches of brown rotting petals. If the leaves are covered in sooty mould, swab them with cotton wool dipped in slightly warm, slightly soapy water.