GARDENING: Jobs for the weekend

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JOBS for this weekend:

•HARDY annuals, such as Calendula, can be sown in pots or modules to provide colour.

•Divide clumps of herbaceous perennials that you want to propagate, those that have become too large or are flowering poorly.

•Improve drainage of heavy soils by working in lots of organic matter and coarse gravel (if necessary). Mulching with a deep layer of organic matter helps to condition the soil, suppress weed growth, insulate plant roots and conserve soil moisture during the summer.

•Top up pots and tubs with fresh compost. Old compost can be removed and replaced.

•Top dress beds and borders with a balanced fertiliser such as Growmore or blood, fish and bone, to feed perennials as they start back into growth.

•Protect lily, Delphinium and Hosta shoots from slugs and snails before they appear.

•Cut back hard shrubs such as Buddleja davidii, Salix alba var. vitellina cultivars and Cornus sanguinea to keep them manageable and deepening the stem colour for next winter.

•Cut back late summer and autumn flowering (Group 3) Clematis to the lowest pair of strong buds. Mulch and feed at the same time.

•Trim winter-flowering heathers with shears as the flowers fade to stop the plants from becoming leggy and bare.

•Lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria) that was lifted from the garden to use as pot plants in the greenhouse, should now be planted back outside.

•This year’s potato bed will benefit from a good application of compost or rotted manure that can be forked in.

•Cover soil with dark plastic sheeting, fleece or cloches to warm it up for a couple of weeks before you start to sow and plant.

•Jerusalem artichokes and shallots can be planted now – but cover with a cloche.

•Sow summer cabbages such as Greyhound and Primo, as well as turnips and spinach.

•Onions from seed should be started now. They need about 15 degrees to germinate, so a windowsill in a cool room is ideal, in 3in pots and prick out the seedlings into their final positions when large enough, or sow into plugs where they’ll stay until planting out.

•Sow globe artichokes, celery, celeriac and leeks under heat in plugs; again, if you choose large plugs they can stay there until planting out.