WEEKEND WORK

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The Independent Online
Lift and divide June-flowering bearded iris, if you have not done so for the past three or four years. Congested clumps flower less well. Break off the healthiest, fattest pieces of rhizome and replant them half- submerged but with the roots well anchored. Trimming off half the foliage before you replant helps them resettle.

Prune old-fashioned shrub roses that will neither have a repeat flowering season later in the summer nor bear hips in autumn. Shorten flowered shoots to a healthy bud or side-shoot. Take out straggly growth and branches that rub against each other.

Summer prune fruit trees by shortening side-shoots on plums; wall-trained pears and apples may also need attention. Shorten lateral growths to allow the sun to ripen fruit.

Mulch runner beans after watering thoroughly to conserve the moisture which this crop needs. Thin kohl rabi plants so that they are no more than six inches apart. Thin young beetroot. Baby beet are excellent steamed whole with butter and a scatter of shredded orange peel on top. Gather herbs such as rosemary and thyme and hang them in bundles to dry in a cool airy place.

Prune philadelphus. Remove about a third of the old stems entirely. In this way, you recycle the bush, promote new wood (which flowers more freely than old) and keep it manageable.

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