WEEKEND WORK

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The Independent Online
Seeds have ripened fast in the recent spell of very hot weather. I am now gathering seed from some fine heads of angelica, a variety called 'Giga' with purple stems, much more dramatic than the all-green type. Seed of foxgloves is ripe, too. When I remember, I put twists of wire round the stems of those I want to keep.

Some seed I gather properly in envelopes. After that, I just swish the whole plant over areas of the garden where I would like more foxgloves. Often this casually scattered seed does rather better than the stuff I sow according to the book in drills in a properly prepared seed bed.

The heat also had a dramatic effect on the lawn, which never gets watered. Grass took a back seat and swathes of white clover flowers bloomed, together with swirls of blue prunella (self-heal). The effect was enchanting. Now, after three weeks, the grass has finally been cut and the show abruptly terminated.

Pick sweet peas regularly to force the plants to produce more flowers. The star of this year's crop in our garden has been 'Rosanna Alice' (Unwins pounds 1.95), a pale flower beautifully feathered at the edges with purplish- mauve.

Continue to pinch out shoots on tomatoes growing as cordons and pick vegetables such as courgettes regularly. They grow at an astonishing rate. Train in any of the new growth of wistaria that you want to keep and prune the rest by cutting back the curling new tendrils by half. Do the final pruning in February next year, cutting these same growths right back to within a few inches of their starting point.

Disbud dahlias by pinching out the side-supporting buds on each stem, leaving only the main boss bud. This produces larger flowers. If you are growing dahlias such as 'Bishop of Llandaff' in a border, this treatment is not necessary. There, quantity is more important than individual size of flower.

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