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Ho ho ho!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…is it? Stunning days like today with blue skies and sunshine seem to be rare so far this winter, we’ve just had some very gloomy, wet and cold days where you have to have your lights on all day and really do feel like hibernating – hedgehogs know what they’re doing! The restrictions we’re living under have made our physical worlds get smaller, whilst our virtual worlds have never been bigger, all the activities we’d normally be doing in the run up to Christmas are either cancelled or feel so strange with masks on that it’s easier not to bother.


My answer to this feeling – wrap up, put on waterproofs and thermal wellies and go outside! Embrace the season of murk, enliven all your senses, relish in rainy days stomping through the mud, get up early on frosty mornings to take in the sparkly wonder that is a hard frost, when the sun does shine take a moment to stand and feel the golden light shine through to your soul…..all in the knowledge that you can curl up on your warm sofa with tea and biscuits – even writing that makes me feel all cosy.


Sunny days are a good time to get out into your garden and do some jobs, some that will help the wildlife and a few that will help you get ahead in developing your garden for the forthcoming year, and I guarantee that spending time outdoors will lift your spirits and give a feeling of hope as we speed towards 2021.


· Feed the birds – as winter bites give the birds a very welcome helping hand by providing food, in squirrel proof feeders if those pesky thieves are anything like they are in my garden! Think about the plants you have and whether you could introduce any with winter berries and fruits, such as crab apples, cotoneaster or holly, as well as perennials with seed heads that can be left to overwinter, all providing a source of natural food for the birds and seasonal interest for you.


· Pottering – it’s a really good time to have relaxing mooch about your garden, clearing up and planning for what you want to get out of it. Maybe cleaning your tools, clearing away waste, setting up composting, planning a pond to attract wildlife, or simply dreaming of an abundance of blooms and vegetables, and picturing yourself wafting around your beautiful garden harvesting your perfect crops.


· Planting – winter is the time to plant out bare root roses, shrubs and trees. If the thought is a bit too much like work don’t worry, there’s still plenty of time!


· Pruning – If you’re feeling a bit lethargic but want to work off some of the Christmas excess then find the secateurs and loppers and prune trees and shrubs that are now going through their dormant phase, which lasts until late winter. You’ll feel better for it and so will the plants.


I hope you all enjoy the downtime that nature gives us through mid-winter and that you have a very merry festive season with your loved ones. See you on the other side!


Verena

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