Weekend work: Time to split autumn perennials


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The Independent Online

What to do

New growth is well advanced on autumn perennials such as Michaelmas daisy and rudbeckia. Splitting and resetting congested clumps increases their flower power. Do it now. Lift the whole clump, split off the most vigorous growth and replant in soil that's been refreshed with compost, bonemeal or seaweed fertiliser. Water well.

While spring bulbs are stars of the garden, summer-flowering bulbs are starring in garden centres. Look out for Galtonia candicans, a stiff-stemmed plant with flowers like an enormous white hyacinth. Bulbs should be planted at least 15cm deep and the same distance apart.

Mark barren daffodil clumps with a cane to remind you to lift, separate and replant the congested bulbs sometime between July and September. A handful of bonemeal or some proprietary bulb booster added now will encourage them to perform well next season.

What to buy

Delflands Nurseries produce a wide variety of vegetable plants, grown organically in Cambridgeshire. Their greenhouse collection (£13), for delivery in May, includes the aubergine 'Black Pearl', cucumber 'Passandra', sweet pepper 'Bell Boy' and tomatoes 'Shirley' and 'Sweet Million'; the basil collection (£8) includes three plants of five different varieties. Visit organicplants.co.uk