Weekend Work: Time to sow leaf lettuce
What to do
Plant bamboos, which make good screens, but will not thrive in windy places. They like moist soil around them. Arundinaria nitida is the most shade-tolerant, with purple flushed canes and narrow bright green leaves. Soak them well before you plant them.
Sow a short row of a leaf lettuce such as 'Salad Bowl' and a row of peas, covering them with netting against mice. If the ground is dry, soak the drill well before the seed goes in.
Continue to sow annuals where you want them to flower, but not in a dust bowl. Soak the ground well before you scatter the seed and keep the ground moist until the seed has germinated. I have been sowing Calendula officinalis 'Indian Prince' (Chiltern £2.40), a tall (75cm) handsome variety with orange petals, red-painted on the reverse. It's excellent for picking.
Top up gravel chippings on beds and bowls of alpines. Replant sempervivums and saxifrages tweaked out by birds, which they are too frequently for their comfort.
Nip off the dead flowers of tulips and daffodils but leave the stems and foliage to die down naturally.
What to buy
Niwaki's beautifully designed tools have quickly become favourites with style-conscious gardeners. Now they've introduced a sturdy pair of loppers (£75), with oak handles and blades of carbon steel. For £12, you can also get your Niwaki secateurs cleaned and serviced. Visit niwaki.com or call 08454 741041
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