Weekend work: Time to split snowdrops

 

What to do

Split clumps of snowdrops and aconites as they finish flowering and replant the bulbs with a handful of bonemeal to encourage them. Snowdrops look particularly good in ivy. Aconites seem to flourish in the kind of starved grass you get under deciduous trees.

Cut to the ground a third of the stems of shrubs such as cornus, grown for their coloured winter stems. This will encourage new stems, with bark more brightly coloured than the old. By cutting out a third of old stems each year, you can, within three years, totally regenerate old specimens.

If you haven't already done so, shear off the old foliage of the large-flowered periwinkle to make way for the new shoots now springing up.

Summer flowering bulbs should be planted as soon as possible. Avon Bulbs of Burnt House Farm, Mid Lambrook, South Petherton, Somerset TA13 5HE, 01460 242177, avonbulbs.co.uk are offering 20 Gladiolus callianthus for £4. They are superb in pots. If you bring them into the house, they scent the whole place.

What to see

It's 200 years since Pride and Prejudice was published and among the celebratory events is a lunchtime talk at Painshill Park in Surrey on 21 March at 1.30pm. 'Gardens in the time of Jane Austen' is the topic and Marie-Elaine Houghton the speaker. The talk is free but admission to the garden is £6.60; painshill.co.uk, 01932 868113

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