Weekend Work: Time to split snowdrops

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The Independent Online

What to do

Split congested clumps of snowdrops when they finish flowering. This is a much quicker way of spreading them than waiting for them to seed themselves. Replant bulbs in clumps of just two or three with a handful of bonemeal in fresh ground. This is a good way of kicking "blind" snowdrops back into action.

Topiary pieces made up from ivy grown over a wire frame provide a quick (and cheap) alternative to box or yew and furnish a bare winter garden. Choose small-leaved varieties such as 'Cascade', 'Cockle Shell' or 'Green Feather' to clothe a frame, twining the growths through the supports, or tying in stems as they grow.

Prune laburnums. Like vines, they bleed badly if you cut them when the sap has already started to flow. That will happen any day soon. Cut young shoots back, leaving just two or three buds on each stem, close to the old wood it has broken from. Wisterias should be treated in the same way.

What to see

Last chance to catch 'Snowdrops by Starlight' at Cambo House, Kingsbarns, St Andrews, Fife KY16 8QD. The snowdrops, following the stream right through the estate down to the shore, are stunning enough by daylight. But for the past two weeks, the woodlands have been specially lit to give a memorable night-time walk. Open this weekend, 6.30-11pm, admission £9.

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