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Your fruit and veg update...

1 Vegetables - sow carrots over the next month in short rows in unmanured soil to get small, medium and large carrots from July to September - cover the area with fleece to keep out carrot root fly. Sow runner beans and climbing French beans in small pots under glass now for planting out in early June. outdoor varieties of tomatoes in pots and grow bags now under glass for outdoor growing from early June. Plant leeks out now * DO IT NOW: Plant outdoor varieties of tomatoes in pots and grow bags now under glass for outdoor growing.

2 Fruit - as it has not rained much since early March, irrigate soft fruit crops to help ensure that berries form properly. Provide adequate water for containerised blueberries and feed with a dilute tomato food. Thin out canes of raspberries by removing weak and badly placed canes. Continue pruning stone fruits by shortening back new growth to two or three buds and remove badly placed laterals. Thin out dense clusters of embryo fruits of apples, pears, and stone fruits now to improve quality.

Best of the Bunch Avens THE old vernacular name for Geum is Avens but you will have to look it up in a wild flower book to see it highlighted these days.

Geum has become a very popular plant once again, after many years of being overpowered by other higher profile herbaceous plants.

Its increased popularity has been partly attributed to the fact that it is a very good plant for pollinating insects and, across a range of species and cultivars can flower for several months.

Our three wild species, Geum rivale, (Water Avens), G. urbanum, (Herb Bennet or Wood Avens) and Dryas octopetula, (Mountain Avens) are all common in Britain but in recent years hybridisation has given rise to an increasing variety of new flower colours.

The colour palette includes red, yellow, apricot and orange shades and there are a number of worthy species and cultivars suited to gravel and rock gardens. Check out the RHS Plant Finder (www.rhs.org.uk ) that currently lists over 170 species and cultivars.

Many of the modern hybrids are suited to the average garden soil in sun and partial shade providing that the soil is well-drained and well prepared. Cutting back flower heads after the first flush can sometimes give you further flowers until late summer.

My diary ...

? Do you have one of those annoying garden problems that you cannot resolve or a plant that you can't identify? For answers to these and thousands of other gardening issues, why not call in at Armitage's Garden Centres this weekend and have a chat with me.

If you bring any potentially infected samples from your garden, please bring them in sealed polythene bags to prevent cross-infection with garden centre plants.

I will be at the Birchencliffe Centre from 11am today, May 14 and at Pennine Centre tomorrow, May 15 from 11am. Visit www.armitages.com for details of these and all the other events planned this summer. ? West Yorkshire Forget-me-not Trust Open Gardens event - following the launch of this mammoth fund raising event earlier in the year, the Trust is proud to announce that so far, 13 gardens are due to open in May, June and July across our region.

For full details of the gardens and their opening times, location, admission costs etc, visit www.forgetmenottrust.co.uk . If you live in the Kirklees, Calderdale or Wakefield districts, you can still offer to open your garden by visiting the website or by calling Gina Fielding on 01484 487570. Remember that all proceeds from these events will be helping to continue to work of the trust and to build, staff and maintain the new hospice at Brackenhall.

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* RARE: Mountain Avens are common in Britain and are one of three wild species of geum or avens as they are also known
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:May 14, 2011
Words:652
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