Weekend Work: Time to prune the blackberries

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The Independent Online

Shrubs to prune now

Prune cultivated blackberries when all the fruit has been picked, cutting out the old fruited canes at the base of the plant and tying in the fresh new canes to supports. The variety 'Himalayan Giant' does not produce as much new wood as some other varieties. Leave some of the old stems to fruit again next year.

Loganberries can be treated in the same way. The new stems which have been growing all this season should be tied in in place of the old fruited stems. Leave the centre clear and fill it next season with the new stems tied temporarily in a bundle.

Blackcurrants fruit on new wood, so you need to persuade the bushes to produce as much new wood as possible. Do this by cutting out at least a third of the old dark wood each season, keeping the new ginger-coloured stems that spring from the base.

Red and white currants need different treatment because they fruit on spurs made on the old wood. Cut back this season's main shoots by about a third.

Privet hedges will probably need a second clip this month after the late spring trim in May. It takes them into winter looking svelte and orderly. Lavender hedges can also be lightly trimmed now to remove dead flower stems. Proper clipping and any hard cutting back of straggly plants should be left until next March or April.

Box hedges, edges and topiary should already have been clipped to shape. If not, do it NOW.

What to see

On Wednesday this week there's a bulb planting session for children at the Garden Museum, Lambeth, London SE1 7LB, with pots to decorate and daffodils to plant in them. The event (4-6pm) is free but you need to book in advance. Call 020-7915 4776 to register. On Thursday (7pm) I'll be celebrating the diversity of bulbs in an illustrated talk at the Garden Museum. Tickets are £10. To book call 020-7401 8865 ext *822