Video report by ITV News reporter Lauren Hall
We may be in the depths of winter but lots of us are still spending time out in our gardens.
Gardening has become increasingly popular during the pandemic, with many giving it a go for the first time.
The Royal Horticultural Society has seen a surge in interest during the past year.
Chief Horticulturist at RHS Wisley, Guy Barter, said: “It absolutely is unprecedented … The trade reckoned that there’s been about 3 million new gardeners in the last year.
"At the moment, it’s mid-winter, but gardeners and people interested in gardening know that, very soon, the sun’s going to come up and we’ve got all the excitement of preparing and planning and looking forward to something.”
It seems the latest ‘Stay At Home’ message has prompted many people to get back out into their gardens to keep busy and enjoy some fresh air.
Our garden centres have been noticing a steady flow of customers. While there has been some criticism that they are open in the current lockdown, the industry argues they can operate safely and are vital for people’s mental and physical wellbeing.
A spokesperson for the Horticultural Trades Association said: “Garden centres offer so many real benefits to people wrestling with the impact of this pandemic.
"We have seen from the huge interest in gardening since the last lockdown how engaged consumers are with gardening – this carried on in to the winter months. Gardening provides mental and physical health benefits, garden centres being open supports British growers and local communities and keeps people at home with something to do.”
Although this is a quiet time in our gardens, there are still things we can do.
Renowned garden designer and TV presenter Arit Anderson suggests starting with the lawn and repairing any bare patches, as well as having a general tidy up of the borders and keeping on top of deadheading.
Even in wet weather, she says we can still keep busy by sharpening tools or organising the garden shed.
Not only is it a good way to get prepared for the Spring, it gives us something to do in this latest lockdown.
Gardening expert Arit Anderson shares her top tips for winter gardening:
On a dry day, you can give your lawn the first cut of the year. Repair bare patches with seed or turf.
Plant up pots with winter bedding flowers. Don't forget to keep deadheading them.
Tidy up the borders and remove any scruffy, leftover Summer annuals.
Sharpen tools and organise your garden shed.