Weekend work: Time to prune plants


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The Independent Online

What to do

Prune plants such as decaisnea if you want to limit its eventual size. Take out one or two branches entirely at the bottom. Its suckering habit means that it will soon throw new growth from near its base.

Prune other shrubs such as philadelphus, weigela and deutzia in the same way, as soon as they have finished flowering.

Early-flowering shrub roses such as 'Frühlingsgold' and 'Nevada' can also be pruned now if necessary. If left entirely to their own devices, they amass a lot of dead, twiggy growth. Cutting out one or two branches at the base encourages new, fresh growth.

Tackle bindweed that is growing between shrubs and herbaceous perennials by untwining the growths carefully and stuffing them all into a polythene sack. Then you can spray the bindweed inside the sack, using a herbicide containing glyphosate, without the spray hitting anything else.

Indoor plants such as azaleas, pelargoniums, ivies and Easter cactus can be sent outside now for a summer holiday. Continue to feed them as usual until you bring them back inside in September.

Take cuttings of African violets. Choose strong, healthy leaves and cut them away from the parent plant with about 5cm/2in of stem attached. Sink the stalks into a mix made from equal quantities of compost and sand and keep moist and warm (about 18C). When rooted, pot up the cuttings singly to grow on.

What to see

Derry Watkins's nursery, Special Plants, Greenways Lane, Cold Ashton, Chippenham, Wilts SN14 8LA is worth visiting at any time (it's open daily 10am-5pm until the end of October). But if you go on a Tuesday, you have the extra treat of a half-hour talk (free with £4.50 admission to the superb garden) which you can catch either at 11am or at 2pm. Coming up is 'Planting for a Special Occasion' (25 June) and 'Water in the Garden' (2 July). For more information, call 01225 891686 or go to specialplants.net.