Weekend work: Time to finish planting spring bedding plants
What to do
Finish planting spring bedding plants such as wallflowers, polyanthus and forget-me-nots. These last make an excellent undercarpet for tulips, especially the dark mahogany 'Abu Hassan' or the lily-flowered 'White Triumphator'. Water in well.
Lilies are best planted in early October as soon as this year's growth has died down. The martagon lily is a hardy, lime-tolerant, basal-rooting species that will thrive in sun or shade. Plant the bulbs about 10cm/4in deep and 23cm/9in apart on a sprinkle of sharp sand to deter underground slugs.
Gather late-ripening apples and pears and store them in a place that is cool and not too dry.
Think about planting more fruit trees this season. The best specimens are likely to be grown in the open ground and will be lifted for delivery after leaf fall, usually from the first week in November. Cordon trained apples are ideal for small gardens.
Cut back the dying stems of herbaceous perennials; compost them.
What to buy
The first frosts have reached our valley and I'm shunting tender stuff under cover. You can use cloches and mini polytunnels like the sturdy one recently voted Best Buy by the readers of Garden News. The plastic cover is stretched over strong hoops and it's available in four sizes from gardenskill.com, 01902 725055; prices from £24.99
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