Weekend Work

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REGULARLY mow lawns – little and often is the key.

Cut lawn edges with a half-moon edging iron to ensure they are neat.

Add grass clippings to the compost heap in thin layers (too much grass all at once will result in smelly slime rather than compost).

•In the greenhouse, apply shade paint to the outside of the glass or use blinds on sunny days to prevent temperatures from soaring. Open doors and vents to increase ventilation. Damp down the floor to increase humidity.

•Take softwood cuttings of deciduous shrubs, including Caryopteris, Forsythia, Kolkwitzia, lavender, rosemary, Fuchsia, Hydrangea macrophylla, Philadelphus and Spiraea.

•l Layering is a good way to propagate climbers and lax-stemmed shrubs.

Layers should root by next spring. Try Philadelphus, Wisteria, Akebia and Lonicera.

•Caterpillars, aphids and other fly pests can all be problematic at this time of year. Early infestations can be managed by hand.

•Sprinkle fertiliser around perennials, shrubs and roses.

•Continue to protect lilies, delphiniums, hostas and other susceptible plants from slugs and snails.

•Stake tall perennials to prevent wind damage to flower spikes.

•Lift and divide overcrowded clumps of bulbs after they have finished flowering.

•Divide primroses after flowering, planting them in a nursery bed until they are ready for planting out again in the autumn.

•Thin out direct sowings of hardy annuals at fortnightly intervals. Final spacings should be between 10-20cm (4-8in), using the upper limit for tall or spreading plants, and the lower limit for smaller plants.

•Cut back dead bulb foliage but wait until the foliage dies down naturally.

•Hellebore seed can be harvested once the heads have ripened. Sow immediately.