Best of the bunch - Saxifraga

These pint-sized flowering perennials look great in rock gardens and scree beds or, in the case of several varieties, planted en masse in the front of borders to add colour in late spring and early summer, acting as valuable ground cover.

They produce densely packed rosettes of spoon-shaped leaves and flower freely in shades ranging from pink and red to white, cream and yellow. Among the most popular specimens for the rockery are S. paniculata 'Rosea', a pink form whose star-shaped flowers appear in May or June, S. 'Elizabethae', which produces yellow flowers and S. 'Jenkinsae', which bears large pink blooms.

Types suitable for the front of a border include S. x urbium 'London Pride', which is more vigorous than other saxifraga species and can cope with full shade or full sun and any type of soil. Cut off the flower stems after flowering and you will be left with neat, green rosettes. All rockery types need well drained soil in a moist spot with some shade from the midday sun. Another variety, S. fortunei, has deciduous foliage that is green with red on the undersides, with white flowers that bloom from October to November.

Good enough to eat - Prevent cauliflower problems

They are known to be tricky to grow, largely because they suffer from the same problems as cabbage, including insect pests such as cabbage root fly and cabbage white butterflies. The best way to prevent such insects is to cover newly transplanted plants with garden fleece or fine netting. Cabbage caterpillars can be a real nuisance as they burrow inside the developing curds (heads) and ruin them. If your netting is securely anchored and held clear of the plants on wires or hoops, the adult butterflies will not be able to lay their eggs on the cauliflowers.

Cauliflowers can also be prone to clubroot disease, a fungal infection which attacks the plant through the soil via its root hairs. In a short period of time this will lead to massive swelling, distortion and severely hampered growth.

Clubroot can infect whenever the soil is moist and warm, so most new infections will tend to occur from mid-summer until late autumn. Resistant varieties such as 'Clapton' and 'Clarify' are available, and a combination of crop rotation and liming should help to prevent the disease.

Three ways to... Protect strawberries

1. Lay a bed of straw underneath emerging fruits on a dry, fine day to stop them getting wet and rotting.

2. Put netting over the plants, using short sturdy stakes to support the netting and keep the birds at bay.

3. Keep an eye on your crops for signs of botrytis (grey mould) and if you see any grey, fluffy mould on the berries cut them off and bin them, checking over the rest of the crop.

What to do this week

:: Pick small gooseberries to thin out heavy crops, leaving the remaining fruits well spaced out along the branches to continue growing to a larger size.

:: Prune late spring shrubs like forsythia and broom after flowering.

:: Continue to sow salad leaves, radish and spinach at intervals in late spring and early summer to ensure a continuation of cropping for the longest season possible.

:: Leave old flowers on some hellebores such as H. niger and H. orientalis to allow them to self-seed.

:: Regularly spike over border soil with a fork to alleviate compaction.

:: Cut spears of asparagus as they develop, using a long knife to sever them well below the soil surface.

:: Be vigilant with tender crops like tomatoes and French beans, only planting out when all risk of frost has passed.

:: Prune out old flower stems of euphorbias to provide more space for the developing stems.

:: Lift and divide primulas, polyanthus and forget-me-nots, digging them up and teasing them apart, ready for planting to grow on to a larger size.

:: Remove suckers on fruit trees growing up from their rootstocks.

:: Gradually lower the height of the blades on your mower as grass growth gets stronger.