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being chopped to the ground every few years to help remove that long woody growth and to encourage an abundance of bigger and brighter flowers. The prunings of these shrubs will make excellent hard woodcuttings, especially the willow. Last year we bought in 150 willow slips at 7ft


long from a grower in Somerset. These were simply poked into the ground and woven into a geometric pattern by my daughter and her friend, watered well through last year’s dry spring and they provided a fine wind break for the Dahlia bed. Another task that can reap dividends later


in the year is the lifting and dividing of any overgrown clumps of perennials which can be divided at any time of the year if you give the plant appropriate care afterwards. But, for the best return on your time and the quickest re- establishment of the perennials, divide them when the soil is warmer than the air for at least part of every 24-hour period. That’s just before peak daffodil season in spring when these conditions will allow the roots of the division to grow while the tops stay low, out of the sun and wind.


Dig around the plant allowing plenty of room for the root ball. Once the plant is free, simply use two garden forks back-to-back and insert them into the root prising them apart.


More often than not one plant


will multiply into five or six. Dig plenty of organic matter into the planting area and replant only the young healthy growth, discarding any woody parts. It’s also an opportune time to divide some of the grass family such as Miscanthus and pennisitum.


Jobs to do this month, when the weather allows


• Plant shallots, onion sets and early potatoes


• Protect new spring shoots from slugs • Plant summer-flowering bulbs • Top dress containers with fresh compost • Mow the lawn on dry days


• Weeds come back into growth - deal with them before they get out of hand


• Open the greenhouse, conservatory doors and vents on warm days


Fast Rabbit Farm


Garden created in sheltered valley with natural stream. Several ponds and lake, partially wooded, rockery, extensively planted, extends to 12 acres plus new woodland planting and walks. Car park. Some level walks


Open Sundays 11am-5pm March to November Bank Holiday Mondays


Admission £3.50, Children 50p


Parties welcome by appointment. Disabled: Please phone prior to visit www.fastrabbitfarm.co.uk


PLANTS FOR SALE


Ash Cross, Dartmouth Tel: 07813 504490


BTD033


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