Some gardening tips:

* Divide overgrown clumps of bearded irises and replant in freshly composted soil. Plant rhizomes in a sunny position in well-drained, composted soil mixed with bone meal and superphosphate, with the upper part slightly exposed to sun.

* Make a first sowing of sweet peas in the next three weeks. Soak seed overnight. Plant in an open sunny position in well composted soil.

* Marguerite daisies (argyranthemum) add colour to borders and containers, and mix well with annuals and perennials. Modern cultivars with their compact growth habit are suitable for the smallest garden with flowers in white, cream, yellow, pink, apricot and ruby. Like all members of the daisy family, these sun lovers need well-drained soil enriched with compost. Snip off faded flowers to improve appearance and encourage flowering.

* Perennials that can be relied on to flower at this time include dusty pink echinacea (coneflower), golden-yellow rudbeckia and blue and white agapanthus. Fill empty spaces in beds with colour bags of salvia, marigold, bedding dahlia and bedding begonia.

* Bronze fennel has an anise scent and grows to 2m, with umbels of yellow flowers and feathery foliage. This is attractive in the herb garden and at the back of a flower border. It is particularly effective when combined with orange and red flowers of crocosmia (montbretia). Hybridisers have improved the crocosmia, and many named cultivars in yellow, orange and red are desirable garden plants. - Saturday Star