Weekend Work: Let the house plants enjoy an outdoor summer season

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The Independent Online

What to do

Many indoor plants can now be sent outside for a holiday which, away from upsetting winds, they seem to find invigorating. Ivies benefit particularly from an outdoor summer season. So do begonias.

I have recently been planting up an old cracked washstand bowl with the bits of tradescantia, spider plant, begonia, ivy and other rooted cuttings that have been hanging around in pots without a home. Not only do they look better all growing together, they also seem to thrive.

If you want to increase stock of indoor plants, now is the time to take cuttings from Begonia rex, gloxinia and streptocarpus.

Cut out some of the old branches of shrubs such as Rubus Tridel 'Benenden' which has now finished flowering. I generally cut out as many branches as there are new strong shoots coming up from the base.

Dead head roses regularly. Remove suckers before they get too dominant. Tearing them away is said to be more effective than cutting. If the sucker is too stubborn to be torn away easily, trace it back to its starting point and cut it off there.

Take cuttings from shrubs such as evergreen azaleas, ceanothus and hebe and from alpines such as the late flowering Gentiana septemfida and the evergreen candytuft, Iberis sempervirens.

Herbs such as tarragon and savory can be cut back hard if they are getting straggly. They will soon produce fresh growth.

What to see

Emma Tennant's new show at 54 The Gallery, Shepherd Market, London W1, combines botanical paintings from the southern hemisphere with more familiar subjects from her home on the Scottish borders. Some of the loveliest images (watercolour on Japanese rice paper) were made on the island of Chiloe, off the coast of Chile, where she painted a magnificent Eucryphia cordifolia hanging off a cliff. The show is open on Tues (1-6pm), Wed, Thur (10am-6pm) and Fri (10am-1pm).

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