Anna Pavord

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Season's greetings: Anna Pavord takes us on a loved-up tour of her reinvigorated garden

The point about spring is that it takes you by surprise. It's the basis of all enduring love affairs. You have the security of knowing roughly how the plot will play out, combined with the intriguing differences of each encounter. You think you know how it's going to be, but then it sweeps you off your feet all over again. I'm totally in love with the garden once more. The worse the winter, the better the arrival of spring. That is certainly true, and down here in the West Country we've had a humdinger of a winter. Hideous in every respect. I only walked up the bank twice in three months – once to look at the damage caused by a fallen tree, once to see if some special snowdrops had come up. They hadn't.

Weekend work: Time to cut back acacia

WHAT TO DO

What they lack in form and substance, clematis make up for in brilliant, bountiful flowers

Choose your favourite variety and get planting, says Anna Pavord

Gardening: It's time to start sowing spinach, broccoli and cabbage

Last month, vegetable gardeners may have been able to get their broad beans in, as well as their onion sets. This month you could be sowing beetroot, carrots, chard, parsnips, peas, radish, spinach and spring onions. If the soil is workable and not too wet, all these can be sown direct into the ground outside. Under cover you might sow borlotti beans, French beans and runner beans, celeriac, courgettes, cucumber, leeks, pumpkins and squash of various kinds, sweetcorn and tomatoes as well as a wide range of salad crops.

Natural History Museum's Wildlife Garden opens for National Gardens Scheme

Gardens to visit this weekend include the Wildlife Garden at the Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7, which opens for the National Gardens Scheme today (12-5pm); admission by donation. Set up in 1995, the garden is made up of different habitats representing deciduous woodland, heathland, meadow and ponds.

Weekend work: Time to spray apple and pear trees

WHAT TO DO

All tooled up: The essential equipment needed for gardening hasn't changed for centuries

A good thing too, says our green-fingered correspondent

Tina has won wildlife prizes for her patch

National Garden Scheme: Ponds take centre stage in a prize-winning Dorset patch

The dawn chorus is at maximum decibels (thank you rooks for the bass notes – they are the best bits), the first brimstone butterfly has made its wobbly way towards the primroses, and huge bumblebees are fumbling around in the pink flowers of the nectarine, which is in full flower against the wall inside the greenhouse. I'm not going to stick my neck out and say it must be spring, but at least the temperature is gradually crawling up beyond 12C. The year is on the move.

How to grow herbs from seed on your windowsill

Just follow these top tips from our green-fingered correspondent

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