Broadcaster and Chartered Horticulturist David Domoney says, ‘Don’t stop gardening!’ now summer is over.
With the recently announced increased restrictions in Britain, David Domoney says the garden is essential in helping us with our physical and mental wellbeing. Gardening helped many to live through the social isolation that impacted many people through lockdown, and David advises that we #DontStopGardening and says that it’s ‘a hobby that keeps giving, for 12 months of the year’. As we move from summer into autumn there’s no need to stop gardening, instead there’s plenty of plants, fun tasks, and activities to get you right through to Christmas and beyond.
Broadcaster and Chartered Horticulturalist David Domoney has over 40 years of horticultural experience. He is perhaps best known as a presenter on ITV1’s prime perennially popular gardening show ‘Love Your Garden’, ‘This Morning’ and most recently working with Alan Titchmarsh again on ‘Love Your Weekend’.
David gardening champion for mental health charity SANE said, “Engaging with and getting closer to nature is one the best things we as humans can do for our health and wellbeing, and gardening enables us to do that regularly.” The shorter days of wintertime can be difficult for many us, particularly for anyone suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
These plants, jobs, and activities will keep families busy over autumn and winter.
Planting colourful bulbs
As gardeners we love looking ahead and planning for the flowers and fruits of the following year. If you’ve ever looked at other people’s borders in springtime, bursting with blooms and wanted the same, yours can be like that too. So, plant some hope for spring and get the kids involved too as flower bulbs are really easy to handle and plant and they can then have the joy of watching their own flowers bloom next spring and know they helped to make it happen.
Shrubs to add interest
Keep your garden looking glorious in the autumn and winter months with these shrubs that provide colourful flowers, foliage and fruit and different times of the year. With plenty of evergreens in the mix, your garden will have constant structure and plenty of greenery and colour.
1.) Skimmia japonica (Japanese skimmia)
2.) Gaultheria procumbens (checkerberry)
3.) Viburnum tinus (laurustinus)
4.) Winter jasmine
5.) Winter flowering pansies
6.) Winter flowering heather
Growing your own
Growing your own food to add flavour and nutrition to your dishes doesn’t mean you need a huge veg patch.
In fact, you can grow produce all year round, both indoors and outdoors. Your windowsill can be used to grow sprouting mung beans in jars by soaking them in water, draining them and leaving them to sprout in a dry jar, and you can also grow cress, basil, chillies and many more inside your home. In your garden you can still grow winter crops like kale, perennial spinach, and the like as well as planting onion and garlic.
The season may be a little less sunny, but there’s plenty that can keep the kids busy. These activities are fun, creative, and educational too, so their minds will be working.
Making fat-balls as food for birds is a great activity for the kids to get hands on and make something whilst learning about wildlife in the garden. You’ll only need a few things to get started: lard, bird seed, mixing bowl and an old, clean yoghurt pot. Mix the lard and seeds together to bind them and use the pot as a container to fill with the mixture. Use string to tie the pot to a branch and hang it on its side. In addition, putting up nesting boxes will encourage different species of birds into your garden too, depending on the type of box you choose.
Get the kids a magnifying glass and play animal detective or do a mini-beast hunt. They can make a tally of the beasts that they see from millipedes to beetles. Once they’ve spotted them, they can draw pictures of what they’ve found and keep notes on where they found each creature.
Let the kids get crafty and create animals using plant pots. Make a spider by painting the pot black, using pipe-cleaners for the legs, and sticking or painting plenty of googly eyes.
Autumn is a great time for getting out and seeing which creatures you can spot. Get comfy and see which birds are paying your garden a visit. In the UK, you’ll likely see robins which are considered an icon of the winter. Starlings, blue tits, and sparrows may be spotted too.
Gathering twigs and leaves together and placing them in your border can provide a safe and cosy space for small mammals and invertebrates.
Over the cooler period there’s no need to stop gardening. With activities to keep the whole family gardening and engaging with nature over the cooler months, you won’t be short of things to do.
So, join David and ‘don’t stop gardening’.