The best of the garden this week plus a gardening chores checklist

Black-eyed Susan

Black-eyed Susan - Credit: Archant

Black-eyed Susan is a much-loved perennial climber. It produces a profusion of black-centred orange, yellow or creamy vanilla flowers into the autumn if it is given the right conditions.

Bunch of fresh chives

Bunch of fresh chives - Credit: Archant

Ideally grown in a sheltered spot, in a porch or conservatory, it will thrive under cover, climbing to 1.5m (5ft) in a short time and should survive winter in a cool greenhouse. Alternatively, grow it as an annual outdoors to climb up posts and obelisks in a sheltered spot, shaded from the hottest sun and use it to provide instant colour while more permanent climbers are becoming established.

Kitchen garden: Chives

Clumps of chives are about to bloom in my rock garden, the small purple lollipop flowers adding colour and upright structure to the scene. Both decorative and delicious, they are easy to grow in a sunny spot and the stems snipped to add a mild onion-type flavour to salads and dips. Sow about 40 seeds per 13cm pot of multi-purpose compost with added John Innes on the windowsill or alternatively plant pot-grown specimens in spring or autumn, leaving 20cm (8in) between the clumps, water regularly and hopefully they will come back year after year. You’ll need to divide clumps every few years for best results.


What to do in the garden this week:

1 Water newly-planted bedding when the weather is dry, preferably with a sprinkler so that the water really penetrates the soil.

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2 Keep weeding regularly and checking for pests and diseases.

3 If you live in a cold region, don’t be tempted to plant out your summer bedding plants until the end of this month or even early June. Be guided by your local parks – ___plant out your summer bedding when they do.

4 Apply a combined weedkiller and fertiliser dressing to the lawn.

5 Earth up early and maincrop potatoes.

6 Plant waterlilies and other aquatics in garden pools.

7 Sow broad beans, French beans, parsnips, peas, rocket, spring onions, turnips, leeks and lettuces if weather permits.

8 Clean the bulbs of early tulips and daffodils which have had time to die back and store them in shallow trays in a cool shed ready for replanting in October.

9 Take basal cuttings from plants such as lupins and delphiniums and keep cuttings out of direct sun.

10 After flowering, cut back all last year’s growth of spring-flowering clematis, such as C. alpina and C. macropetala varieties, to 25cm (10in) from its point of origin.