Weekend Work: Time to hard prune shrub roses

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The Independent Online

What to do

Shrub roses that have finished flowering, such as 'Fruhlinsgold', can be hard pruned. Count the number of new stems sprouting near the base, then take out the same number of old, twiggy branches.

Oriental poppies can be sheared to the ground once they have finished flowering.

Lift and divide bearded irises that have finished flowering, though only where the clumps are particularly congested.

Sow forget-me-nots and sweet williams for next spring and summer.

Nip off the tops of broad beans to discourage blackfly.

Cut down flowered stems of aquilegias and sweet rocket before they shed seed.

Keep picking sweet peas. They will stop flowering if they go to seed. Next year try 'Matucana', an old variety grown in this country since 1700 and available from Thompson & Morgan (£1.99). The flowers are deep blue with purple wings.

What to see

Music, flowers, gossip, Constance Spry – expect a bunch of surprises in Mig Kimpton's performance 'Fifty Years of Flower Arranging' which he's giving tomorrow (4pm) as part of the London Literature Festival. Tickets for the show in the Purcell Room cost £10. Book on 0844 875 0073 or go to londonlitfest.com

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