GARDENING: Jobs for the Weekend, May 16th, 2014

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•HARDEN off tender plants by leaving them outside for increasing periods of time, building up to overnight exposure for a fortnight, then plant in permanent places when the risk of frost has passed.

•Thin out direct sowings of hardy annuals and vegetables, in two or three stages at fortnightly intervals.

•Remove faded wallflowers and spring bedding, to make space for summer plantings.

•Divide clumps of herbaceous perennials. Bamboos and clumps of bulbs or rhizomes can be divided in the same way.

•Cutting back clumps of spring-flowering perennials such as Pulmonaria and Doronicum can encourage a fresh flush of foliage.

•Lift and divide overcrowded clumps of daffodils after flowering. Deadhead tulips and daffodils. Apply a liquid fertiliser to spring bulbs after they have flowered, to encourage a good show next year. Allow the foliage to die down naturally.

•Inspect lilies for red lily beetles - they’re extremely destructive and active now.

•Sowing new lawns or over-seeding dead patches can still be carried out. Prepare the ground by cultivating, levelling and lightly firming. Do not walk on or mow newly-sown grass until it has reached a height of 2-3in, and then only give it a light trim.

•Protect carrots with insect-proof mesh to prevent carrot root fly.

•Liquid feed fruit trees growing in pots with a balanced feed every fortnight.