Get your garden ready for Spring

Guide

Isn’t the sofa tempting this time of year? Once you’ve nested amongst the cushions with a packet of biscuits (custard creams are objectively the best one) and snuggled under a thick throw, movement starts to really lose its charm. Add in a box set and the chances of motivating yourself to go outside, out into the frost where the cold stings your cheeks and chaps your lips, plummet like the mercury on a bitter Winter night.But stay on the settee too long and the cosiness turns into a kind of zombie-ness.

Revive your spirit

You know a short spell outdoors even in winter can revive your spirits. The best strategy is to wrap up in a warm scarf and gloves and get out before the call of sofa grows too strong.

If you’re lucky enough to have a garden or balcony, that’s as far as you need to go to spend some time outdoors, refresh your senses and do something simple and satisfying to help nature.

Winter is prime time for planting bare-rooted trees (trees that don’t come in a plant pot). It’s a surprisingly straightforward and cheap job to do and the benefits are lovely.

RSPB nature-friendly gardening expert Adrian Thomas said “one of the best things” people can do for nature in their garden is grow a tree. And there is a tree suitable for every garden, small or large, even a balcony. You can plant “two dimensional trees” against a fence or wall such as espalier fruit trees.

Adrian said: “Birds need nesting and roosting sites, they need song perches, and many require insects, worms, berries and other natural food in their diet. So, think about boosting the habitat in your outside space this year. Have you got space for a tree - a fruit tree such as an apple, cherry or crab apple is a great choice. Making these little improvements can really tip the balance in nature's favour.

“And then that means more birdsong and wildlife action and hence watching pleasure and mindful distraction for us all. It's nature's tonic, right on your doorstep.”

"...think about boosting the habitat in your outside space this year...Making these little improvements can really tip the balance in nature's favour."

Trees store carbon so your sapling will not only help give a home to nature but help fight climate change.

This handy guide gives an easy to follow step-by-step breakdown on how to grow a tree for wildlife plus the lowdown on the best tree for small gardens and for balconies. With no soil on the roots, they are light to handle. It only takes about 15 minutes to plant one. Just dig a hole, put it in upright, fill the soil back in, firm and water. And that's it - perhaps for the next 100 years.

Before you rush back in...

Linger a moment. Gardens look like a different world this time of year, more monochrome, with spider webs outlined by frost and the amber flash of a robin perching on your shovel giving a flamboyant contrast against the grey and brown and white background.

You’re already outside and you’ve got the blood pumping from digging in your new tree. So before you retreat back inside take a moment to top up your bird feeder. The feeders you tenderly hung out are often neglected over the autumn months as it is a time of abundance for nature.

But over winter birds move into our gardens for refuge. When the countryside has been stripped bare of food your feeders can make the difference in their chances of survival.

"There’s lots of indoor tasks; clean and service the tools, sort the shed, check through seed packets and put things to help make your garden wildlife friendly onto your Christmas list."

Winter is also a key time to take stock and prepare for a new season of nature friendly gardening (not to mention a crucial time to restock your fridge with pudding). There’s lots of indoor tasks; clean and service the tools, sort the shed, check through seed packets and put things to help make your garden wildlife friendly onto your shopping list. Things will soon move quickly come the Spring so get yourself ready.

Now you can race back to your living room. Layer those cheese and crackers, warmed by thoughts of birds perching in your tree as it grows.