Written by Kelly St Lawrence, Account Director at Now.
I’m not exactly what you’d call ‘outdoorsy’. In fact, I love the indoors. I wholeheartedly embrace the sense of hibernation that comes with the bitter British winter – spending evenings wrapped in all the clothes I own, as the nights close in earlier and earlier, not venturing outside apart from to prevent starvation.
At least, until that first hint of Spring. Until little leaves and buds start to appear, the icy wind dies down and the sun warms up. Winter can give your vision a bit of a grey tinge, and emerging, blinking, from the grey skies and grey rain and grey mood can sometimes feel as though the world has suddenly been whacked up to full blown technicolour.
And so to Wyevale garden centres. Galvanised by the fact that spring is just around the corner, and on a mission to ‘Bring Britain to Life’, we spent the day with our friendly neighbourhood gardener and a camera, on a mission to capture some of his top tips on what we could be doing in the garden to get it looking great for next month.
After picking up some compost, flowers and a lovely old ‘about to be chucked out’ wine crate, we learned how to find out how much clay is in your soil with one neat trick, how quick it is to prune your roses (don’t be afraid to just go for it!) and how easy it can be to make a beautiful flower display with only a tiny space to work with.
Despite the low temperature, the sun was out, and so we took a stroll down the road to see how other people were adding their personal touches to their gardens. We saw some pretty window boxes, impressive tropical plants flanking doorways, and in a few cases we could see where people hadn’t settled for just fixing up their own space – they’d gone the extra mile and planted ferns or flowers beneath the trees on the pavement, or hung flower baskets from lamp posts. At the bottom of the road, the pièce de resistance: the ‘peace garden’, created by the area’s estate agent.
What was originally a stack of concrete owned by a property company had been bought by him and some other members of the community, and turned into a natural mini-sanctuary, just up the road from the train station. Although relatively small, it had been filled with bamboo wind chimes, a couple of ponds, a seating area and a ‘wishing tree’, where people could bring their children, write down what they hoped for in the future and attach the wish to the tree.
It became very clear that no matter the time of year, being outdoors in the garden or gardening itself is a very personal and passionate thing – people will take it upon themselves to bring a little more life into their surroundings, whether it’s their own garden, the street they live on, or an unclaimed space that they take back in the name of the garden. And braving the outdoors breathes a bit of life into the dormant winter months too. The best bit is that by spending a little bit of time enjoying the garden in winter, you can relax through the long sunny days of spring and summer when your bulbs are in full bloom, the lawn looks beautiful and the barbecue is out – and really reap the rewards.