GARDENING: Jobs for the weekend with Brian Kidd

Sternbergia.
Sternbergia.
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It’s going to be warm, so wear a hat.

•If you would like something beautifully rare, look out for sternbergia bulbs. I mentioned this twice in last year’s gardening features and there were none to be found anywhere locally, so get hold of some before they all go. They love a sunny top with a shaded root. The five-inch high yellow crocus flowers appear in autumn and are smashing.

•Take five-inch cuttings of pinks and carnations. Trim off all leaves apart from the top seven and insert them into 50 per cent sharp sand and 50 per cent vermiculite. Water with a half-strength feed of Maxicrop Growth Stimulant. It’s amazing how this encourages easy rooting.

•Thin bunches of indoor grapes for, hopefully, the last time this year. Dust sulphur powder on to the stems holding the fruit and use Bordeaux powder on any leaves which have powdery mildew.

•Disbud dahlias every few days to encourage flowers on longer stems.

•Tie in stems of chrysanthemums so they grow long stems with blooms.

•Divide or move peony plants now. When replanting, ensure the tops of the rhizomes (thick roots) are on the surface of the soil. If planted too deeply, they won’t produce flowers. If you don’t want to move or divide them, scrape away the surface of the soil below the foliage so you can see the tops of the rhizomes. They will then flower next summer.

•When watering the garden, only water essential things. It is a waste of water spraying foliage. If the ground is very dry, water the soil on the most important parts. Put a bucket underneath hanging baskets to catch surplus water.

•IPlease put water out for the birds.