Weekend Work: Time to cut off the suckers

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The Independent Online

What to do

Trees and shrubs such as cherries, lilacs, crab apples and medlars which are normally propagated by grafting may start throwing up suckers. Cut them off flush with the trunk.

Several traditional cottage garden plants – sweet williams, wallflowers and forget-me- nots – are biennials and can be sown now in rows outside. Sow the seed as thinly as you can in drills that have been well soaked with water.

Garden pinks can be propagated now by taking 8cm cuttings of shoots that are not flowering and pushing them in round the edge of a pot of damp sandy compost. I've added several pinks to the garden this season. 'Whatfield Magenta' has been a particular success, flowering itself silly with rich scented flowers.

Whitefly is a plague in greenhouses, as always. Toads are the ecological answer. If you can persuade a toad to take up residence under the staging, you need never suffer insect attacks again. First bribe your toad...

Net currants and raspberries against squirrels and birds. Blackbirds are the worst and they seem oblivious to humming lines, shiny sparklers or the like.

What to see

The Flower Show at Hampton Court Palace opens next week, giving visitors a spectacular view of the Long Water from the bridge that is put up specially for the show. It runs from 7-12 July (Tue & Wed, RHS members only). See rhs.org.uk/ hamptoncourt for ticket details