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Macclesfield Express - - LEISURE -

Start to sow slow-ma­tur­ing bed­ding plants such as African marigolds and an­tir­rhinums un­der glass.

If weather per­mits, pre­pare seed beds on free-drain­ing sandy soil by lightly fork­ing over the sur­face, break­ing down large lumps and rak­ing the soil to a fine tilth.

Con­tinue to bring in forced bulbs for in­door flow­er­ing as they be­come ready for ex­tra warmth.

Ex­am­ine stored dahlia tu­bers for any sign of rot­ting.

Check trel­lis, per­go­las and arches which are sup­port­ing climbers and re­pair any that are dam­aged.

Be­fore plants start grow­ing ac­tively, check on the ties that se­cure them to sup­ports. Re­place any that have rot­ted and add ex­tra ties if needed.

Con­tinue to plant bare root fruit trees and bushes if the soil isn’t frozen or wa­ter­logged.

If you have bought bare-root hedg­ing plants which you can’t plant be­cause the ground is wa­ter­logged, open them out to al­low air to cir­cu­late, cover roots with straw and store in an open, ro­dent-free place, keep­ing the roots moist to avoid de­hy­dra­tion.

Pot au­tumn-rooted fuch­sia cut­tings into small, in­di­vid­ual pots.

Con­tinue win­ter­prun­ing trees, roses, climbers and shrubs be­fore spring growth gets un­der way.

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