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Action plan: Nigel Colborn's essential jobs for your garden this week

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PRIME TIME FOR PRIMULA

For those of you growing primroses, polyanthus, or primroses, now is a good time to lift and divide mature or aging plants.

If you do this every two or three years, your primroses will stay young, healthy and full of flowers.

When the plants are almost finished flowering, use a fork to dig them up.

Nigel Colborn says this is a good time to lift and divide mature aging plants.  UK gardening expert says for those growing primroses, use a fork to dig them up

Nigel Colborn says this is a good time to lift and divide mature aging plants. UK gardening expert says for those growing primroses, use a fork to dig them up

Remove all faded flower stalks and shake off as much soil as possible.

As the rhizomes of the plants become easy to see, gently break some off or cut them with a knife.

Find and save rhizomes that have a few healthy roots and a single rosette of leaves at one end.

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Plant them individually, either in pots with a good quality growing medium or in a sheltered, weed-free part of the ground. They will be small, so mark where they are.

Dividing primroses now gives these tiny offshoots an entire growing season to develop into tall, healthy plants.

These will be perfect for planting next fall for a great springtime show in 2023.

HARDEN OFF TENDER PLANT

Cover them at night when low temperatures are expected.  If you keep them in shallow boxes or trays, these are easy to cover with horticultural fleece (pictured) if needed

Cover them at night when low temperatures are expected. If you keep them in shallow boxes or trays, these are easy to cover with horticultural fleece (pictured) if needed

It is too early to plant frost-sensitive seedlings and non-hardy plants outdoors.

Frost is still possible until the end of May – or June in cold regions. Tender plants fresh from a greenhouse need to be hardened off for outdoor life.

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The easiest way is to place your plants in a well-lit but sheltered outdoor location. Cover them at night when low temperatures are expected. If you keep them in shallow boxes or trays, these are easy to cover with horticultural fleece if needed.

LAST RITES FOR DAFFODILS

If you want to divide clumps of daffodils, replant bulbs, the rules say to do so in late summer.  But dormant bulbs can be impossible to find

If you want to divide clumps of daffodils, replant bulbs, the rules say to do so in late summer. But dormant bulbs can be impossible to find

With such an early and mild spring, daffodils and narcissi offered us a magnificent spectacle. But now we are left with a sequel of gloomy, gloomy foliage. For a good show next year, those messy leaves need to stay intact. The bulbs need to transfer valuable nutrients from these, to store them in the dormant bulbs. If you want to divide clumps of daffodils, replant bulbs, the rules say to do so in late summer. But dormant bulbs can be impossible to find. So you can lift and divide them now, replanting them very carefully.

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PLANT OF THE WEEK: RHODODENDRON IMPEDITUM

Rhododendrons may not be true blue, but this one comes close.  Native to western China, Impeditum grows as a small, dense shrub with tiny evergreen leaves

Rhododendrons may not be true blue, but this one comes close. Native to western China, Impeditum grows as a small, dense shrub with tiny evergreen leaves

Rhododendrons may not be true blue, but this one comes close. Native to western China, Impeditum grows as a small, dense shrub with tiny evergreen leaves. In late spring, these are almost obliterated by a large number of tiny flowers whose petals are a magnificent blue-violet. Being so compact, this one is perfect for a spacious container. Ericaceae compost is vital.

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