Spring and summer are when our gardens usually come into their own. Plants and vegetation burst into life, while we soak up warm weather and entertain friends long into the evenings. 

Come winter however, it can be easy to leave our gardens unused and uncared for as we hide away from the cold.   

But there are plenty of reasons to keep your fingers green. Many plants and vegetables thrive at this time of year, while wildlife needs your help to survive. It’s a great way of staying fit and healthy too – the Horticultural Trades Association estimates one hour of light gardening each week burns off 87 Mars bars per year!  

Read four ways to put your garden to use in the coming months. 

Attract and observe wildlife

Our gardens offer fantastic ways to connect with nature, especially if we invite the animal kingdom! While lots of wildlife hibernates in winter, many birds, squirrels and other animals rely on us more than ever while food is in short supply. 

Hedgehog shelter

Try putting food out for birds each day to see who pays a visit, and keep your pond unfrozen for frogs. You can even create mini shelters for insects and hedgehogs. 

Grow winter vegetables

Eating seasonally can help you enjoy food that’s been harvested locally while at it’s best. If you grow your own produce in summer, switch your crops to those that thrive in winter such as parsnips, leeks, kale and winter salad. 

Investing in a polytunnel can help to protect plants from harsher conditions. There[‘s no doubt that hearty winter meals taste better when you’ve grown the ingredients yourself!

Put in winter plants

As well as vegetables, many decorative plants come into their own in the colder months. Evergreen shrubs can add structure to your garden, while winter flowers will introduce pops of colour and appealing scents.

Hellebore flower in snow

Garden centres aren’t just for summer either, so see what winter delights you can find at your local shop.     

Prepare everything for spring   

From planting to pruning and tidying up, there are almost endless jobs you can do in the garden in winter to prepare for the onset of spring.

Dead-head and prune your autumn and summer-flowering plants, plant colourful bulbs in clumps for effect, and clean up and organise your tools. Tidying your greenhouse and shed will also make your life easier over summer and can help keep your stored items in better condition.  

You may not be as naturally drawn to your garden when it’s chilly outside. But if you want to stay busy and get some fresh air, you’re sure to find plenty to get stuck in with.