Weekend Work: Dampen down the greenhouse

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The Independent Online

What to do

As the weather begins to heat up, greenhouses need dampening down. High humidity discourages red spider which is a difficult pest to eradicate once it is established. Artificial shading may also be necessary on greenhouses in full sun.

Cordon fruit trees, like espaliers and fans, have a habit of throwing out shoots where you do not want them. Pinch out any that are pointing towards the wall or that are too close together.

Check for greenfly on roses and other known resting places. Ladybirds are now active, so if you spray, use one specifically designed for aphids.

Sow Shirley poppies, morning glory, love-in-a-mist, night-scented stock, eschscholzia, clarkia and cornflower outside where they are to flower. Rake the soil carefully to make a fine tilth and firm it with the back of a rake before sowing. Cover very lightly with earth.

Cats love new seed beds. So do sparrows. If either are likely to invade, cover newly-sown seeds with wire netting or sticks.

Thin out congested clumps of bamboo by cutting away the old canes at the base.

Clip away scorched leaves from bay trees growing in pots and refresh the compost by scraping away the top couple of cms and replacing it with fresh material. Feed bay trees regularly through the summer.

Harden off bedding plants sown inside. Gardeners in the south could risk setting them out now. Risk is the operative word.

What to buy.

Wood stains used only to be available in brown, yet we recently transformed the huts in our garden with Silver Birch, one of Cuprinol's Garden Shades. Stain feeds and preserves wood and soft colours such as Sage and Willow fit easily into a garden setting. There's a separate range of what Cuprinol call Heritage Shades with posh names like Beaumont Blue and Somerset Green. Tins come in four sizes: 125ml tester tins (£2.19), 1l (£9.99), 2.5l (£17.99) and 5l (£25.39). For more information go to cuprinol.co.uk