Weekend Work: Time to remove runners from strawberry plants

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The Independent Online

What to do

Remove runners from strawberry plants unless you want to build up stock by growing on the plantlets that develop at the ends of the runners.

Thin outdoor peaches and apricots if you have a heavy crop, leaving one fruit for each foot of branch.

Start to earth up early potatoes. Sow more short rows of lettuce, radish, cress and a final row of peas. Earlier rows of peas may need supporting with nets.

Trim hedges of Berberis darwinii as soon as the flowers go. Take out some of the old flowered branches of shrubs such as forsythia and Rubus tridel 'Benenden'.

Continue to plant out summer bedding in containers, watering the plants well when you have finished. I used some water-retentive mats to line an old manger before refilling it with fresh compost and this has made watering it very much easier.

Aphids have been building up in huge numbers on the new foliage of hellebores such as H. x sternii and H. corsicus. If you reach for a bottle, make sure that it kills aphids only.

If you can, plant out angels' trumpets (daturas) that have been overwintering in pots in a greenhouse. They will be far more likely to flower well, growing unchecked in a border, but it needs to be one that gets plenty of sun and no wind. The rootball is not extensive, so in the autumn, the plant can be lifted and repotted before going under cover again.

Clean up camellia bushes to rid them of unsightly bunches of brown rotting petals. If the leaves are covered in sooty mould, swab them with cotton wool dipped in slightly warm, slightly soapy water.

What to see

The Garden Museum in Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1 7LB, is holding its first ever herb festival today (10.30am-4pm) and tomorrow (10.30am-5pm). Admission £6. Pennard Plants are selling plants and seeds and herb expert Caroline Holmes will be around on both days to demonstrate the best way to grow them. Tomorrow, Urban Bees joins the festival, with advice on urban beekeeping. For more information call 020-7401 8865 or go to the website at gardenmuseum.org.uk

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