Winter activities to get active for
(Jan 18th 2023)

After the madness of Christmas, you may find that the family weekends feel less frantic. But don’t let family time fall flat. Outside, there’s plenty to be excited about. Your patio is the perfect place for mid-winter amusements so read on for ways in which you can get active this winter.

Garden Games

It’s pretty cold out there, so bundle everyone up in their coats and get some fresh air. Kids love playing in the garden during summer to let their imaginations run wild and winter games work just as well. With suitable footwear, you can play hide and seek, go on a treasure hunt, run a ‘flower find’ or a plant identification competition—activities like this are both fun and informative. If you’re finding that the days have grown short and you’ve lost the light, then invest in some outdoor lighting and make your outdoor spaces more accessible for family fun—you won’t regret it! With ample lighting you won’t be restricted to only venturing out in the daylight. Fairy lights are a cost-effective, quick way of transforming your garden at night. Strewn over bushes or trailing down fences, they’ll make a feature of any gloomy areas and have a way of drawing everyone outside for garden antics. 

Winter treats

For a family pastime which is truly magical, book in time to do some star gazing. Huddle under a blanket and look up at the heavens! Kids love hearing about the different star formations and solar systems. Lay on your warm and comfortable outdoor sofa and enjoy the calm night sky. Of course, a great way to stay warm is to invest in an outdoor heater or fire pit. Although, if you want a fire pit with a difference then get an outdoor set with an inlayed grill. Who says you need to wait for Spring to start enjoying the garden with the family? Enjoy crisp nights with roasted marshmallows and grilled sandwiches. Or, if you’re looking for a fun activity for a sunny winter’s day, have your succulent Sunday roast cooked straight from the grillwhat could be better. 

Wildlife watching

For flowers to brighten up you garden, look to pansies and cyclamen for hardy flowers which will provide some winter colour. I love red foliage scattered about the patio so try Scarlet Dogwood for a vibrant addition. An unforgettable feature for the kids of course is anything water related. Ponds can be beautiful but, if you have small kids, they can pose a danger so why not look to getting a water feature. I love these in winter because they also provide a water source for the birds. In fact, your garden wildlife is a great way to get the kids outside. A bug hotel will give garden pollinators like bees and ladybirds with a winter habitat and will provide your plants a natural pest patrol because they eat a lot of garden pests. So, involve the kids with buying, siting and monitoring your new bug hotels. It’s a great opportunity to learn about the ins and outs of your garden’s delicate ecosystem. If bugs aren’t your thing, then the RSPB’s garden birdwatch is not one to miss. From 27-29th January you and the kids can identify the birds in your garden and I like to make it into a game to see which of my kids can spot the most!

Whatever you decide, be creative. Your outside spaces have so much to give—even now the days are short. Getting outside and preparing your patio for frequent use is a fantastic way to add a little workout to your week, for more information on gardening jobs to help fitness, read my blog. There are many reasons to make a switch from inside activities to getting active outside and you won’t regret making these family opportunities part of your weekly winter routine. 

Improving your Winter Garden
(Feb 27th 2023)

Bare winter gardens with the furniture stored away, and a garden that has gone to sleep has become a thing of the past. Leaving your outside space redundant for six months of the year is crazy when space is such a premium. Instead, imagine a winter garden full of life and colour: a little haven of fresh air that you can use all year round, and not just for the summer. 

You want to be able to nip out into your garden at the first sight of sun. If the weather suddenly picks up, or you’re entertaining lots of guests, or even just on a beautifully clear morning, enjoying the garden with a hot cup of coffee. For these little moments, you can’t have your wonderful garden looking abandoned and lacklustre. So, to help you perk up your winter garden this month, I’ve outlined a few things that should be left in the garden over winter. These little touches will help to pull your garden back into shape, so you can get back out there and enjoy it. 

Flowers and Plants 

Believe it or not, there are plenty of winter flowering plants that will help to bring your garden to life over winter and cheer up those winter blues. Snowdrops will have started popping their nodding white heads up around now, and Daphne Bholua is a delightful evergreen shrub with delicate pink flowers that bloom over winter with a heavy scent. Don’t forget that planting a few evergreen trees and shrubs can make the world of difference by providing the basis for colour and structure all year round.

Planting winter honeysuckle in a sunny spot will bring wonderful colour as well as fragrance to your winter garden. Try popping some showy camellias in containers with ericaceous compost, planting in a little winter flowering heather alongside, and dotting them around your patio with a few candles for a lovely valentine’s display. 


Your beloved vegetable patch needn’t lie dormant over winter! Leeks are versatile winter veggies that can be sown now and harvested next autumn and winter, if you’re itching to get growing. Spinach and winter lettuce can both be continually planted and harvested throughout winter, and you could even get some drills in now, for salad crops within six weeks. Use a cloche to protect your crops through late frosts and cold snaps. Perennial herbs such as sage, rosemary and thyme are hardy and evergreen, so can be planted in a sunny spot in your garden, ready for snipping off sprigs when you need them.  


One thing that definitely should not be abandoned over winter is your garden wildlife. Make sure to keep helping your garden birds by putting high fat foods out such as lard balls mixed with seeds. You could also try putting up a bird box, to see if any new parents are in the market for a place to raise their chicks. In a month or so, hedgehogs will be emerging from hibernation, so help them find food fast by putting out a little cat or dog food and some fresh water. Nothing brings a garden to life like our wonderful British wildlife, so helping them out by providing food or shelter will truly transform your winter garden.