Gardening: Weekend Work
Pavord, Anna, The Independent (London, England)
E The Bank Holiday weekend will afford you a bit more time than usual for gardening, so this might well be the moment to do some propagating. If you like to keep zonal and regal pelargonium cuttings from year to year, for example, take cuttings now of non- flowering sideshoots, about 7.5cm long; they will root in a few weeks. Semi-ripe cuttings of a number of hardy shrubs, such as roses, rosemary, lavender, buddleja and senecio, can also be taken now.
E Layer rhododendrons and other shrubs which are clothed with branches to ground level, like Viburnum farreri, by bending a shoot close to ground level, and then cutting it halfway through from beneath, about 30cm from the growing point. Pin the layer at the cut point to the soil, using flexible wire. This type of propagation is rather slow, for it takes two seasons, but is very little bother and rather satisfying.
E Plant colchicums, which flower in the autumn, as soon as you can get hold of them, as well as the Madonna lily, Lilium candidum. These lily bulbs need to be planted close to the surface of the soil, and away from any other lilies, as they usually carry a virus, which causes no symptoms in them but shows up in others if transferred by aphids.
E Try to keep tender summer annuals flowering well by punctilious deadheading, and watering frequently in dry weather. …