At Barques, we love the great outdoors and have a fair few green thumbs in the team who will be getting out in the garden in preparation for the colder months ahead.
As today marks the start of the winter solstice, we can expect to see many changes happening outside as the temperature starts to drop and the days become shorter, but it’s not all doom and gloom as a winter’s garden can truly be a wonderland.
Whether it’s catching sight of delicate white snowdrops swaying in the wind or an intricate spider’s web glistening with frost, these seasonal joys brighten up dark dreary days.
There’s no denying that summer is when many gardens look their best, but outdoor spaces are also glorious at the end of the year too. Garden scenes are often stark during winter, certainly compared to the vivid displays we see at the beginning of the year, but there are still plenty of colourful shrubs and cheerful flowers to lift your spirits.
Wrap up warm and get out in the fresh air and winter sun and both you and your garden will feel the benefit. For an extra treat, why not take a flask of coffee to enjoy outside? We have a great recipe for a festive peppermint mocha.
How gardening can improve your mental health
A range of studies has shown that there are extensive mental health benefits linked to gardening. Not only can regular gardening reduce mental health problems like depression and anxiety, but it can also reduce stress and combat high blood pressure, as well as improving overall physical fitness.
Growing plants gives us responsibility
Having a living thing to care for gives us a sense of responsibility – if we don’t prune, water or otherwise care for the plant, it may die. This responsibility is beneficial for people suffering with mental health issues, as it gives them purpose and a sense of worth.
Gardening connects us with nature
In our increasingly urbanised and technologically driven world, reconnecting with nature can have a huge impact on mental health. Studies have found that spending time in green spaces helps people to destress and relax. It also helps people to feel more at one with the world, and overcome feelings of self-absorption that can often worsen mental health issues.
Gardening is therapeutic
Instead of worrying about what’s currently happening in the world, gardening gives us the opportunity to focus on something else. Concentrating on a physical task gives our minds a break from those things that might be getting us down.
Winter garden to-do list
Want to get outside and put your green thumb to work? Here are a few jobs to keep you busy in the garden over the next few weeks.
Prepare your garden
The winter months are the perfect time to tidy and trim back your garden, as well as perform other ‘clean-up’ jobs such as raking leaves and maybe even building a few raised beds.
Plan ahead for spring
Plan ahead and plant bulbs such as tulips and daffodils ready for a wonderful spring display of colour. You can also plant bulbs in your pots in layers according to their different flowering times, ensuring you have constant flowers and colour in your garden throughout the year.
Move your garden inside
Protect any delicate plants that struggle in the frost and damp. Some such as agapanthus and olive trees benefit from being moved indoors or being put in a greenhouse. Others staying outside will need to be wrapped in bubble wrap or fleece.
Growing house plants can also be a fun and relaxing activity. You can easily grow cacti from seeds; all you need to do is pop them on a sunny windowsill and see how quickly they grow.