Weekend work in the garden

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The Independent Online

What to do



All the vegetables that hate frost can be sown now. There is at least a fighting chance that we won't have snow in June. Sow French beans, setting them 8cms apart in rows 45cms apart. Sow sweetcorn in blocks, setting the seeds 45cms apart in rows 45cms apart. Some growers spread a sheet of black polythene over the ground first and plant through holes cut in the sheet, but personally I hate the industrial air that black polythene brings to a garden.

Sow biennials such as sweet william, forget-me-not, foxglove and honesty and perennials (aquilegias, violas, primulas) outside now to flower next year. Move the plants to their permanent positions in early August.

Watch out for blackfly homing in on the broad beans and pinch out the tips of the plants where necessary. Aphids may also be clustering under the new leaves of gooseberry bushes, giving all the new shoots a wrinkled, diseased appearance. Wait for birds and ladybirds to deal with the problem.

What to see

The fine nursery, Woottens of Wenhaston, Suffolk, is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a Paint the Iris competition, with prizes totalling £1,000. To enter, you need to go to Wootten's iris fields (open until 10 June) and choose a free stem of iris to paint. Closing date for the competition is 30 July. The iris fields are close to the nursery and you can get more competition details from Woottens on 01502 478258, or from their website, woottensplants.co.uk



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