Weekend Work: Time to plant heathers

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The Independent Online

What to do

Heathers settle well if planted at this time of the year, provided you take care to seat them properly in the soil with roots well spread out to provide an anchor. Water well.

Take cuttings from heathers now too, choosing short sideshoots that have not flowered. Pull them off with a heel (a sliver of old wood) attached and bury them up to half their length, putting several in a pot of compost. Perlite or sand mixed with a multipurpose compost gives the right sort of texture. Over the winter, put the cuttings in a cold frame.

Daturas have done well in pots outside this summer, but all such tropicana should be safely in the shelter of a greenhouse now. If the temperature drops below about 40F, they may lose their leaves. Do not overwater.

The days of fuchsias may also be numbered. When frost does strike and foliage dies down, bring the plants inside for the winter.

Plant sweet williams and stocks for colour and scent next summer. Work bonemeal into the soil before you plant and mulch after planting.

What to see

The Marianne North Gallery in Kew Gardens has re-opened. North, who died in 1890, travelled widely in the Caribbean and South America, painting exotic plants and insects. The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew are open daily (9.30am-4.15pm), admission £13. Call 020-8332 5655 or visit kew.org.uk

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