I love spring as everything is coming to life and that lovely green colour is coming back to the bare branches. So what can you add to your garden to bring spring cheer?
Why not try tiny Chionodoxa bulbs with rich blue, white and pink flowers? They do well in pots and in any well drained soil. With small yellow daffodils planted alongside, they will really cheer you up. Primula Gold Lace is an old fashioned primula with velvety brown and yellow flowers. This will also like a well drained soil in a shady position. Alternatively you can put them all in a pot with some Anemone blanda (like the wood anemone) for an attractive spring planting.
Another plant that starts off in spring are the different types of Brunnera. I love Brunnera Jack Frost with large silvery sheened leaves that gleam in the shady areas. These low growing perennials have some beautiful foliage but all start with forget me not flowers in blue or pink before the leaves expand. They too like a lightly shady place and team up well with Pulmonaria and Alchemilla mollis for a tapestry of foliage for ground cover.
Shrubs are coming into flower and I suggest you put a couple of early spring flowering shrubs together with your bulbs and spring flowers around them. One of my clients has an evergreen Pieris Forest Flame which has gorgeous clusters of white waxy flowers planted next to Ribes, an ornamental flowering currant with white, pink or reddish flowers. Both are reasonably easy to grow with the Pieris liking a neutral soil. They do not do well in an exposed place.
You can have an evergreen shrub with heavily scented flowers called Daphne bholua Jacqueline Postill. It smells delicious but needs a well drained soil and shelter to grow well. A much easier shrub to grow is Chaenomeles or Japanese Quince. It is good for a wall or fence and if you can tie it in then you will be rewarded with white, pink or red flowers.
In the garden, cut back the winter flowering heathers after flowering to encourage healthy new growth. Cut back dead ornamental grasses such as Miscanthus to allow new growth to come through. I try to add new John Innes compost to plants in pots long term and give them all a slow release fertiliser feed. I have Acers and Hostas in pots that need a good feed in spring. Put your potatoes in a light cool place to “chit” where the potatoes start growing their new shoots. Plant tomato seeds indoors.