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Five reasons to get in the garden this Spring

an image of someone with their hands in the soil

With mince pies and tinsel a distant memory, and having survived the January blues, dare we begin to look ahead to see if there are any hints of Spring around the corner?! February is a perfect time to start to get busy in the garden again. If you need a little more of a nudge, then here are five reasons you should get in the garden (or allotment) this month:

1. For your mental health: check out these mindful gardening tips from Kendall Platt from Adventures with Flowers™

February in the UK is still dark and cold and this can have a significant impact on our mental health. One of my favourite mindful gardening activities to do that requires no gardening knowledge at all is to just get outside and notice what shoots are starting to poke their heads up out of the soil, or what trees are starting to come into bud. This simple exercise provides us with a welcome reminder that Mother Nature continues to grow though the long winter nights and Spring will be here before we know it.

While it's still a little early to be sowing seeds, February is the ideal time to prune many of your deciduous trees and some plants. Some common ones found in many UK gardens that can be pruned this month are apple and pear trees, acers, wisteria and buddleja (the butterfly bush and a must have in a wellbeing garden). February is the ideal time to cut the plants down to 30cm from the ground to promote blousy blooms atop long strong stems come midsummer. As you prune, use your sense of sight to prune out any dead or diseased branches before removing crossing branches and decreasing the length of all stems by 1/3rd. Listen for the pop of the secateurs as their blades slice through the stems of the plant or tree you're pruning. By focusing on your senses you can really lose yourself in the garden and find that inner calm.

2. Get summer ready: if you do the work now you will reap the rewards later in the season. There is plenty that you can do so that come July and August when you're hosting barbecues and playing with the children, you will be glad that you did. Here are some ideas:

Re-paint the sheds and fences

Plant some summer-flowering bulbs

Prune any climbing plants

Prep the veg patch: clear out any old bits and warm it up ready for next season Apply our probiotic soil conditioner to ensure your soil has a healthy microbiome.

3. Get mucky! Getting microbes from the soil on your hands has significant health benefits. During the winter months we stay indoors more, we have the heating on, and our bodies are covered in clothes. Despite our efforts to enjoy some winter walks, we are still generally more disconnected physically from nature. Have you heard of earthing or grounding? Science has proven that when we connect our skin physically to the Earth it has a whole host of health benefits such as balancing our cortisol production, regulating our nervous system and reducing inflammation. Plus, when we get mucky in the soil and grass, the millions of microbes that reside there are transferred onto and into our bodies which helps us increase our microbiome diversity.

4. Keep active: as anyone who has spent a good day in the garden will know, you can wake up the next day feeling like you've done a heavy session at the gym! The bending, reaching, pulling, digging and walking around is a fantastic way to get moving to keep you physically strong and mobile.

5. Getting fresh air and vitamin D: and on top of all of the other benefits we've mentioned already, the cherry on the cake is that they all take place outside in the fresh air and under the (hopefully warmth of!) natural sunlight. After a cosy winter indoors and with shorter daylight hours, make the most of getting back outside this February and get some light on your skin. Receiving natural sunlight on our skin helps balance our body's natural circadian rhythm which helps us get better quality sleep - which has a knock on effect on our health. So, if you are suitably convinced to get out in the garden this February, make sure you check out Kendall's website here for loads of gardening and wellbeing tips.

Did you know, probiotics aren't just for our bodies? Adding in beneficial microbes to your garden can give your flowers and vegetables a huge boost too. Treat your soil with soil conditioner at this time of year to underpin your garden's growth.

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|book cover - Dave Goulson, The Garden Jungle
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