Weekend work: Time to shear over rock plants



* Shear over clumps of aubrieta, arabis and other similar rock plants to remove dead flowers and reduce straggling growth. Clean candytuft and alyssum, by cutting out flowered stems. Shear back the foliage of early flowering 'Iris unguicularis' so that the sun can warm the rhizomes.

* Tree seedlings, mostly ash and sycamore are sprouting prodigiously after a wet May. Remove them before they get too deeply entrenched.

* Successional sowings of vegetables such as beetroot, carrot, lettuce and radish never quite result in the smooth progression of crops recommended by the manuals. Even so, small amounts of lettuce and radish can go in, together with longer rows of beetroot and carrot to use in autumn. Water the ground before sowing.


* Learn about making hurdles, scything meadows and shearing sheep at a Scything and Smallholders Weekend today and tomorrow at Wimpole Hall, Arrington, Royson, Cambs SG8 0BW. Emorsgate Seeds, who know all there is to know about establishing wildflower meadows, will be there. For further information go to wimpole.org.