Weekend Work: Time to plant grape vines

 

What to do

* Plant grape vines as soon as you can if you have visions of a Roman summer next year, lying under a leafy arbour waiting for the fruit to drop in your mouth. 'Royal Muscadine' will crop outside, but it grows prodigiously and you need warmth in late summer to sweeten the fruit. You also need to rig up netting against birds.

* Cultivated blackberries need attention. Cut out the old fruited canes and tie in new growths, either along horizontal wires or in a fan.

* October is a good month to plan hedge planting. If you want to put in a hedge on an exposed site, plants will establish more easily if you make a screen on the windward side. Hessian or doubled-over plastic netting is better than a solid screen.

* Lay new turf if the ground is moist. Fork over the ground to get rid of weeds and rake so the surface is even. Use a line to keep the turves straight and lay them like brickwork. Sift soil into gaps and firm down.

What to see

* On Mondays and Tuesdays in Nov, Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons in Oxford is offering a garden tour alongside one of its famous lunches. Owner Raymond Blanc is as interested in his garden (potager, orchard, Japanese garden...) as he is in his kitchen. For £80 you get both. To book, telephone 01844 278881

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