Weekend work: Time to tie up climbers

 

What to do

Tie up any climbers that have been torn from their moorings by equinoctial gales and secure new growths.

Lay new turf where necessary so that the grass can settle before winter. Dig over the ground to be turfed, getting rid of weeds. Rake the earth to a fine tilth. Use a line to keep the turves straight and lay them so the joints are staggered, like brickwork. Sift soil into any gaps and firm down by banging with a rake head.

Finish planting spring bedding plants such as wallflowers, polyanthus and forget-me-nots. The latter make a pretty undercarpet for tulips, especially the white-flowered 'White Triumphator' or the stubby double 'Angelique'.

Plant lilies. They are best moved just after they have finished flowering. The martagon lily is a hardy, lime-tolerant species that will thrive in sun or shade. Put the bulbs 20-25cm apart and 10cm deep, with a sprinkle of sharp sand under them to deter underground slugs. Mulch in spring with compost or leafmould.

What to see

During the Second World War, gardening became a potent symbol of patriotism. The soil itself was what we were defending and the government of the day quickly realised how Britain's gardeners could be called to arms. It's a theme that Ursula Buchan explores in A Green and Pleasant Land (Hutchinson £20) and which she will be talking about at the Garden Museum, Lambeth Palace Rd, London SE1, next Thurs (6.30-8pm), tickets £20; gardenmuseum.org.uk

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