Beat those winter blues


At Thrive we know gardening can improve emotional wellbeing. We also know that if you are feeling down finding the motivation to start something new can be difficult. If you haven't done so already, check out our leaflet, Gardening: the feelgood factor.

Just going out for a walk can be a mood lifter – the combination of nature and exercise can have a great positive effect.

If you are indoors, why not grow some houseplants? Try local plant sales or ask a friend or neighbour for a cutting. Most health food shops and garden centres sell seeds and beans for sprouting, try growing beansprouts which will be ready to eat in a week.

If you have a garden, just 30 minutes spent outside each day is good for you, helping to build up strength and stamina, relax your muscles, help movement and balance, keep your heart healthy and use up calories.

Winter gardening tips

Just because the days are shorter and a bit chillier, does not mean we shouldn’t be out in the garden, with wellies and fleeces on, tackling a few jobs!

Weeding and raking all the leaves is a great physical activity (you can always reward yourself with a hot chocolate after!)

If you have the space, why not make leaf mould? Put all the leaves into a black big bag, punch some air holes in and leave it behind a shed or somewhere similar and next year you will have some fantastic leaf mould which is a great, free, nutrient for your soil.

Protect tender plants from hard frosts by using a hessian sack or cloche. Pots will be better protected if moved next to the house.

Use January as a time for reflection in the garden. Plan what you are going to do throughout the year.

Give the lawn a final rake and spike it for aeration. Improve soil by digging in manure, plant winter flowering pansies to give some colour and dig new beds.

Or keep the birds happy by making feeders. Use lard mixed with seed in a yoghurt pot, hang upside down with string. Or tie monkey nuts together with string – simple, cheap and fun!

Soggy lawn tips – with all this torrential rain we’ve been having your lawn may not be looking its best. Pricking the lawn with a fork can help, but deeper spiking into the ground to at least 15cms is best. Then, if you can, fill the deep holes with horticultural sand. It’s best to do this once the excess water has drained away, or try to brush it away if possible before spiking.

If you can, put some fertiliser on your lawn in the spring which should help it recover and give you a lush lawn in the summer.