Weekend Work: Time to bring bulbs into the warmth

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The Independent Online

What to do

It's unlikely that there'll be time for much gardening in the run-up to Christmas, but now that frosts have arrived, things in the garden have slowed done. What's not done now can equally well be done after Christmas in the limbo days before the New Year.

If you sowed sweet peas back in the autumn, pinch out the growing tops of the young plants. This forces buds lower down into growth so that you end up with a plant that has three stems rather than just one.

Bring bulbs such as 'Paperwhite' narcissus and bowls of hyacinths into the warmth in batches so as to get as long a flowering succession as possible. You should be able to keep the flow inside going until bulbs such as early crocus start to flower outside.

If you have a greenhouse or a cold frame, continue to make successional sowings of easy salad crops such as mustard and cress, radishes, rocket and lamb's lettuce.

Complete any pruning of vines before the end of the year. Vine sap starts to rise very early in the New Year. If you cut canes then, they bleed copiously, which weakens the plant.

What to buy

Still looking for Christmas presents? Take yourself to Cranborne, Dorset BH21 5QT where the potter Jonathan Garrett is opening his Hare Lane Pottery for a Christmas sale today and tomorrow (11am-5pm). The barn is heated and there'll be food on sale too. For more info, call 01725 517700