Weekend work: Time to prune climbing roses


What to do

* Rambler and other climbing roses that only have one flush of flower should be pruned as soon as the flowers fade. With ramblers, take out one old stem for each new one. With climbers, cut just above a vigorous new side shoot.

* Cut back helianthemums. Delphiniums may give a second late show if you cut down the old flowered stems.

* Take cuttings of Camellia japonica, using half-ripened side shoots. Root the cuttings in pots of sandy soil. August is the prime time for taking cuttings of a wide range of shrubs, such as philadelphus, senecio and grey-leaved artemisias, such as A. arborescens.

* Propagate lavender now too. Choose 7-10cm lengths of non-flowering shoots and stick them in a pot or a shady cold frame in sandy compost. Keep them well watered. Rooted plants can be set out in spring.

* If you can bear to, cut back hard any particularly good violas and pansies that you want to increase. Cover the crowns with a finely sifted mixture of sandy soil. This will encourage the plant to produce some good new growth. You can pull some of these out with a few roots attached and pot them up to grow on as new plants.

What to try

* Last month's Problems and Pests column (6 July) ended with a piece about moles. Dr Sandra Grantham writes, "I live on the Suffolk/Norfolk border and was plagued by moles for years. Then about seven years ago I planted a eucalyptus sapling bought from The Old Vicarage garden in East Ruston. Now the sapling is a tall tree and for the last three year I have had NO MOLES". Lucky Dr Grantham. And she's got at least 30 years before she need worry about the eucalyptus itself becoming a problem…