Weekend Work: Time to tend to your tobacco plant

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The Independent Online

What to do

The tobacco plant Nicotiana sylvestris is coming into flower. Pick dead flowers off at dusk when their smell is at its most seductive.

Old flowered stems of rambling roses should be cut out now. Untie all the growths, lay them carefully down on the ground and take out a proportion of the old wood at the base.

Figs are ripening fast. But wasps love them. Tie paper bags (not plastic) round a few choice specimens.

Prune gooseberry bushes when all crops have been picked. Take out crossing branches, keep the little leg on which the bush stands clear of growth, and remove enough branches to keep the centre of the bush clear.

Trim box hedges and topiary, if possible after the trees have had a good soak. Where topiary frames are being used, tie in new growth firmly to the supports.

What to see

Nursery owner Helen Bainbridge specialises in pelargoniums and next week will be giving a practical demonstration on the best ways of getting these tender plants safely through the winter. Cutting back, winter watering, ventilation, temperature – all are important. Learn why on 4 Aug (2-4pm) at the Fir Trees Pelargonium Nursery, Fir Trees Cottage, Stokesley, N Yorks TS9 5LD. Tickets £4.95. Call 01642 713066 to book