Weekend work: Tuberous begonias need prodding into growth; tackle the roses

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The Independent Online

What to do

Tuberous begonias that have hibernated through winter need prodding into growth now. Tip them out of their pots, clean off the old stems and then settle them into a tray of moist compost to start sprouting again. Set them so the concave side is uppermost. A heated propagator will speed the sprouting. When new leaves have appeared, plant the tubers in separate pots and grow them on at around 50F.

If you have not already tackled the roses, do so now. Start by cutting out dead wood, then all spindly stems and suckers. That will be enough for old-fashioned roses. Hybrid teas need sterner treatment: follow each stem up from the bottom until you come to a likely looking outward-facing bud and cut the stem off above the bud.

Moss is having a field day after the wet winter. If you cannot learn to love it, hire a scarifier.

Cut to the ground shrubs such as rubus grown for their coloured winter stems.

What to buy

After a winter of unparalleled gloom, perhaps it's time to give the garden a present. Mabel and Rose have a wide range of good-looking vintage accessories: a wooden sack trolley (£65), a square wooden trug, nicely weathered (£35), a wirework wall basket with scrolled decoration (£40). They have French galvanised watering cans, old terracotta pots and plenty of crates. Ogle the website at mabelandrose.com or call 01993 778885.