Weekend work: Time to lay new turf
What to do
Lay new turf now so the grass can settle during the winter. Dig over the ground, get rid of weeds and rake the tilth so the surface is even. Use a line to keep the turves straight and lay them so the joints are staggered. Sift soil into gaps and firm down the turves by banging them with a rake head.
Fill outside containers with plants for winter interest. Heathers such as white 'Lyonesse' and pink 'St Keverne' flower through the autumn. White 'Springwood' and pink 'King George' pick up the baton in December.
Moss growth accelerates as grass growth slows, so if you do not like it, treat moss now with a residual moss killer.
Divide and replant clumps of chive and mint.
Lift dahlia tubers after stems have been blackened by frost. Cut stems back to about 3cm/1in and leave them to dry for a week or so. Then dust them with a fungicide such as flowers of sulphur and pack them in boxes of damp compost or sand. Store them in a frost-free place.
What to see
Gardens open this weekend include Acer Corner, 10 Manor Road, Wendover, Bucks HP22 6HQ, where Jo Naiman has put together a big collection of Japanese maples. Open today and tom (2-5pm), £2.50. There's a Japanese influence, too, at Robin and Toshie Hull's garden, Chapel Farm House, Halwill Junction, Beaworthy, Devon EX21 5UF open today (11am-5pm), £3.50
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