Katie Rushworth's guide to Spring

Spring has finally sprung! Buds are breaking, lambs are appearing across the countryside and the blossom is waiting in the wings to dazzle us come May.

At this time of year, the garden is full of opportunity to get ahead and start making any changes you have had in mind. So if you have a weekend free then here are a few jobs you could be getting on with.

Pruning, any shrubs and shrub roses can still benefit form a prune now. Always cut to an outward facing bud on the diagonal and aim to create a nice open framework for air to circulate. Trim off any crossing branches and remove any weak growth, doing this will direct all the plant’s energy where it’s most needed. The general rule of thumb is to trim shrubs immediately after they have flowered, doing this will make sure you don’t remove any growth that has already set its flower buds for the following year.

Mulching is a fantastic job that will give great results. Spread a few inches deep of homemade well-rotted garden compost or soil conditioner or all over your flower beds and around your plants. Not only will it make the garden look smart, it will suppress weeds, lock in moisture and feed your plants. Anyone can do this job, so get the kids involved too, it’s a win win!

Sow any veggies you fancy growing – come early May the danger of frosts should have past and you’ll be safe to sow directly into the ground – any sowing before that will need some protection with horticultural fleece or a cloche.  I like growing unusual salad leaves that I can’t get in the supermarkets – I also adore beetroot and there are so many gorgeous varieties besides the usual purple ones you see - try Chioggia with its attractive rose red concentric circles and sweet flavour or the bright yellow Burpees Golden variety. Herbs are also a must in my family – things like rosemary and thyme will jazz up any dish and they’re super easy to grow – just give them free draining soil and a sunny spot.

It’s amazing what a lick of paint will do to a fence or shed – a change of colour at the back of a border can give an area a whole new lease of life – a dull brown shed transformed with lemon yellow will make your garden seem sunny 365 days a year! Be bold and add some colour – not only will it revitilise an old structure, it will also protect it further from our changeable British weather – a few containers in the same colour around the garden will tie your new scheme together seamlessly – no green fingers required!

Thinking about planning a new border? Remember to plant a good backbone of shrubs, some of which should be evergreen to give you Winter interest. Consider foliage as much as flowers - it’s around a lot longer! Use a limited colour palette and repeat the same herbaceous plants throughout the space in small groups – threading some grasses throughout will gel the whole thing together and give your garden that designer edge.

Still in need of inspiration see my monthly plant picks in the plant dept or speak to one of the team at Tong – they’re always glad to help and really know their onions!