Weekend work

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The Independent Online
Cut down the flowered stems of enthusiastic self-seeders such as aquilegia, sweet rocket and Jacob's ladder. A twist of wire around the stems of specific foxgloves and opium poppies, while they still have a remnant of colour in them, will help remind you which spikes you want to keep for future self-seeding.

You could also start a new colony of foxgloves from seed. The ground is well soaked at the moment and you can either sow seed in a straight row outside, as though you were sowing radishes, or broadcast them over the patch you want to fill. Either way, you will have to thin out or transplant seedlings later.

Unwins offers a mini-pack (enough for 50 plants) of the foxglove `Excelsior' for 49p. It's a handsome variety, with flowers all the way round its stem (the wild type has flowers only on one side). Remember that foxgloves do best in damp, cool ground. They are excellent in shade.

Dead-head roses to encourage further flowering. Keep picking sweet peas. They will soon stop flowering if they are allowed to go to seed. I am growing mine up wigwams again this year. Growing them cordon-style was interesting, and produced flowers with wonderfully long stems, but the general effect was not as pretty as the wigwams.

This year I'm growing `Antique Fantasy Mixed' (Thompson & Morgan, pounds 1.49), which produces smaller but better scented flowers than the norm, in a good, deep rich mix of colours. `Terry Wogan' (Unwins, pounds 1.29) I chose for the scent, not the name. The darkest of this year's crop is `Black Knight' (Mr Fothergill, 79p), an old, grandiflora type, bred by Henry Eckford in 1898.

Continue to remove side-shoots from tomato plants and mulch courgettes and cucumbers to conserve moisture. Transplant cabbages and broccoli from seed beds to their final positions.

Take cuttings of garden pinks. Choose shoots about 3in long and stick them round the edge of pots which you have filled with a sandy mixture of soil. Firm the soil down well around the cuttings and keep the pot well watered.

Take cuttings of the big, indoor Begonia rex. If you slit the veins under a leaf and lay it flat on the soil, weighted down with pebbles, small new plants grow from the cuts. I prune mine (which spends the summer outside) by cutting out one or two of the longest stems each year. If you take the top 6in of each stem and pot it up singly in compost, it, too, will readily grow into a new plant.

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