A gardener’s work is never done with many of our perennials in the fruit cage and borders now ready for our attention.

I give some examples here of species that flower or fruit on the same year’s growth, produce attractive new stems or need a tidy-up to look their best. Old stems are cut back now to force the plant to produce the new stems we want.

This applies to our autumn fruiting raspberries which should be cut back almost to ground level this month. As new stems grow, remove small weak ones and allow six to eight new strong ones to fruit generously.

When pruning now, you could of course not cut some canes and they’d flower earlier in the summer. So you’d have a longer fruiting season.

Moving to the herbaceous border, clematis in groups two and three need attention. Late flowering group three cultivars like Bill Mckenzie and viticella hybrids should all be reduced to 30cm, cutting just above a pair of strong buds. These, like the rasps, will rapidly grow long stems that will flower in late summer.

Group two clematis like Jackmanii and Nelly Moser need a light prune, removing dead or damaged stems. And there’ll be more tidying than usual this year after all the storms and frosts we’ve been enduring.

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By and large, these group two clematis flower in early summer on the ripened wood of the previous year’s growth but you can also encourage a second flush of flowers. Trim some older stems back to strong buds to encourage them to make new growth. This way, you’ll enjoy extra flowering on these new stems later in the summer.

This type of pruning encourages new flowers to grow further down the older stems so you’ll avoid the long bare stems that are all too common.

A shrub or tree’s stems can be every bit as eye-catching. Take Salix alba var. vitellina cultivars and Cornus sanguinea. How could you fail to love the wonderful colour of their fresh stems? So get sharp secateurs out and "stool" them, cutting down to the base or stool of the shrubs.

Our ornamental grasses like molinias and miscanthus also need a tidy-up before new growth starts. This lets the fine new display emerge without having to struggle through tangly old vegetation. Trim all the old brown stems to base and get your fingers in to tease out all the gubbins in the stubble. A rake would be too damaging. Stipa tenuissima will also be looking pretty sad just now, so should be cut back, provided no frost is forecast.

You may notice that some publications are recommending that semi-hardy shrubs like Buddleia davidii, Hydrangea paniculata and Lavatera should be pruned now. In Scotland, we should leave this till next month when temperatures will be less damaging.

Plant of the week

Crocus ancyrensis is just about the earliest species Crocus to flower in our gardens. Its golden yellow flowers are very weather resilient and, though they only fully open in sun, the tepals come through gales, frost and snow unscathed. Its native habitat is Anatolia where the winters can be brutal.

Choose a well drained spot, soggy soil is the enemy of early flowering bulbs. The sun should reach the flowers in the middle of the day and this will warm up the air inside the goblet-shaped flowers of crocus, causing its temperature to rise higher than the temperature outside, helping the nectar to flow.