Weekend work: Plant Grape Vines

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The Independent Online

What to do......... 

Plant grape vines if you have visions of a Roman summer next year, lying under a leafy arbour. 'Royal Muscadine' will crop outside, but it grows prodigiously and you need warmth in late summer to sweeten the fruit. Rig up netting against birds.

Cultivated blackberries need attention. Cut out the old fruited canes and tie in new growths, either along horizontal wires, or in a fan shape. Tips of new canes may have rooted where they touched the ground. Cut these ends off and pot them up if you want more plants.

October is a good month to plan hedge planting. If you are thinking of putting in a hedge on an exposed site, plants will establish more easily if you make a screen on the windward side. Evergreens have a lot of wind resistance and tend to rock when it blows, so that roots find it difficult to get a hold in the earth. Hessian or doubled-over plastic netting is better than a solid screen.

Lay new turf if the ground is sufficiently moist. Fork over the ground to get rid of all weeds and rake the tilth so that the surface is even. Use a line to keep the turves straight and lay them so the joints are staggered like brickwork. Sift soil into any gaps and firm down by banging with a rake head.

What to see......... 

Four years ago, the Glasgow photographer Allan Pollok-Morris began photographing the work of contemporary garden designers, plantsmen and land artists working in Scotland; some of his images are now on show at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh where they'll be until 11 January. The Gardens are open daily (10am-4pm). Admission free. For more information call 0131-552 7171 or visit rbge.org.uk

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