WEEKEND WORK

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The Independent Travel
Now, while the earth is still warm but moist after the recent rain, is the ideal time to be shifting plants. It is easier to move herbaceous plants if you reduce some of their top hamper first. Dig them a comfortable hole and fork up the bottom of it so that the roots do not have a battle to get started. I always put bone meal in the hole as a bribe. I have been shifting self-seeded plants of foxglove, verbascum and Verbena bonariensis to suitable homes and none show signs yet of flagging.

I have also been experimenting again with establishing small new wallflower plants in the courtyard wall. The few that I had got going in the vertical surface died in the drought this summer. Since the wall still seems very dry, I have wrapped the roots with damp compost in wet tissues and pushed these bundles into holes in the wall. I am hoping the reservoir of compost and damp will tide them over.

It is also time to pick late-keeping apples for eating over Christmas. Store them separately from early and mid-season apples. The ethylene gas given off by ripe earlier fruit will hurry the late ones on too much and they will deteriorate.

Stop watering tuberous begonias and gloxinias in pots so they die down naturally. Store the tubers for the winter in a cool, dry place. Flowers of sulphur dusted over them will help prevent mould.

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