GARDENING: 10 jobs you can do this weekend

There's plenty of jobs you can be doing in the garden this weekend, weather permitting.
Early crop ...Rhubarb can be forced now.Early crop ...Rhubarb can be forced now.
Early crop ...Rhubarb can be forced now.

* Rhubarb can be forced for an early crop. Cover a crown or two with buckets or even an upturned large pot and insulate the outside with straw or compost for added heat. The stalks will

grow in the dark. This takes a lot out of the crown and it won't recover for a couple of years.

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* Lily bulbs can be planted in pots, for flowers this summer. After growing on in a cool greenhouse, they can be moved on to the patio when in flower.

* Check on tender plants overwintering outdoors to ensure protective coverings are still in place.

* Continue to deadhead winter pansies and other winter bedding. Pansies will carry on into the spring and even to early summer, if attended to frequently.

* Cut off old leaves of hellebores that produce flowers from ground level (including Helleborus x hybridus and H. niger) to expose the flowers and remove possible foliar diseases such as hellebore leaf spot.

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* Look out for rots (such as crown rot, Sclerotinia, delphinium black blotch, black root rot and antirrhinum rust) on emerging perennials.

* Many summer­flowering deciduous shrubs can be pruned now ­- those that flower on the current year’s growth, including Buddleja davidii, Ceratostigma, Hydrangea paniculata, Lavatera,

Leycesteria, Perovskia, hardy fuchsias, and deciduous Ceanothus.

* Prune Wisteria by cutting back the sideshoots shortened by summer pruning to two or three buds (2.5­5cm/1­2in). Avoid cutting off flower buds.

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* Dig a new pond ­- have a minimum depth of 60cm (2ft) at the deepest point, to reduce the risk of the pond freezing totally. Gently sloping contours between the shallow and deep areas, and between the bank and the water, are more wildlife-­friendly.

* If you do have seedlings and/or cuttings in the greenhouse, make sure they are getting the maximum light available. If necessary, turn them once a day so they get light on both sides.

This will stop them leaning over towards the light, and keep them upright and compact.

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