Nicola Burton talks to Cambridge University Botanic Garden experts and local interior designer Cate Burren of Angel and Blume for top tips on hauling your home out of hibernation this spring.
With fog rearing its hazy head over Cambridge’s spires daily and April showers making a none too welcome early arrival, you could be forgiven for wishing spring was fully fledged already. But don’t retreat under the duvet until global warming remembers to kick in; we have spoken to local experts in horticulture and interior design to unearth innovative ways of rejuvenating your home to see in the spring. Take your pick from these eight top tips to create that spring feeling easily, inexpensively and stylishly.
1) Clean your windows
“Even if the sun isn’t streaming through your windows, grimy windows cast a shadow over every room. Clean the windows inside and find a good local window cleaner to clean outside regularly.”
2) Flowering boughs
“Cut flowers are an expensive way to bring flowers into your home – have a look at your garden and see what you can bring inside to force into flower. Cut stems placed in a vase in a warm situation will spring to life and can make a beautiful display. Try the viburnum bodnantense for a fantastic fragrance, or the pussy willow for tactile fluffy flowers.”
“Spring is a traditional time to clean up and sort out. This is a time to be ruthless – pick your most shameful cupboard, room or chest of drawers and examine every item – do you really need it or want it? If not, free up space and chuck out, recycle or donate to charity.”
4) Spring bulbs
“If you didn’t get chance to plant any spring bulbs in the autumn you can cheat a bit and buy some which have been potted up for you. Garden centres, plant nurseries and the city market are full of them at the moment. Enjoy the flowers inside and then as they fade plant them out in the garden to enjoy next year. Good choices include the narcissus, the iris reticulata, fritillarias, and hyacinths.”
5) Paint your walls
Paint is the quickest and most cost effective way to revamp a room. When choosing a colour, remember to get a sample pot of your preferred choice. Start by painting it on an A4 piece of paper and pin it on the wall. Look at it at different times of the day to see how it works in different lights – a colour you like in the morning light may be very different under artificial light at night. Good springtime colours include duck egg blue and sunny yellows.”
6) Sow some seeds
“Now is a great time to sow seeds. You could start your own herb garden on a windowsill and once the weather warms up transfer your plants to a pot outside. Two good ones to try are basil and coriander. Alternatively, use a cut and come again salad leaves mix to grow in small containers and use the leaves as micro salad leaves to add to your usual salad mix.”
7) Create more storage
“One of the best ways to sort out your living space when spring cleaning is to make sure you have enough storage space. If you don’t have enough storage, your home will never be tidy so you may need to invest in more. Work out what storage you are lacking and then look at the options for building in or finding free standing storage to meet your needs.”
8) One for the kids
“A great idea for children is to create a garden on a plate. With silver foil in the middle, create a little ‘pond’ surrounded by the moss studded with flower heads to create a mini indoor garden. The flowers won’t last long but it’s a great way to get children involved in springtime nature. For a more grown up display take a large shallow bowl filled with water and float flower heads, for example hellebores, on the surface to create a table centrepiece.”
For spring fun at the Botanic Gardens, head over on March 1st for the family art day. Daffodil dreaming, ake Mother’s Day cards, and play wildflower bingo with our education team. £2 per child, from 11am. Call 01223 336265 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Angel and Blume, based at 37 City Road, Cambridge, offer free 1 hour interior design consultations. Call 01223 479434 or email email@example.com.