“Anyone who thinks that gardening begins in the spring and ends in the fall is missing the best part of the whole year; for gardening begins in January with the dream.” Josephine Neuse.
So we're back in lockdown, it's January, there is a lot of snow and ice about and it's been quite difficult to walk over the last week. Walking is the thing that has shaped my days since March last year and without it I feel like I have lost my anchor, but it has been just too slippy to try and walk before dawn this week. However that's no excuse for not connecting with nature. At the start of the year I decided I'd use the 3 good things in nature trick every day as a way to remember to keep my eyes open when I am out and about. Some of the best feedback I have received from our Nature Advent(ure) is that people are really noticing nature around them now. For me, it was also an excuse to have a really lovely notebook to write in every day! I'm also bringing the outdoors in, by using natural scents around the house and by nurturing my houseplants. I'm a bit of a haphazard plant mother but when my maidenhair fern miraculously started springing back to life of its own accord, I decided I should reward its efforts with regular trips to the bathroom for steam baths and lots of misting.
It might be hard to imagine gardening when you look out at snow covered flowerbeds but then I read the above quote. On Tuesday I was really pleased to be able to join the Clydesdale Community Initiatives Gardeners' Den to hear about forest gardening, and am inspired to plant some wild garlic under the trees at the bottom of my garden as soon as the soil thaws a bit. The presentation from Alan Carter will be available on the website soon. The Gardeners' Den meet monthly and are currently meeting online so join the facebook group if you want to be kept involved.
If you don't feel your gardening skills are quite advanced enough for that, then we have a wonderful session coming up with Stuart, the educational gardener at Castlebank Park Horticultural Centre. On Friday 15th January he'll be talking to us about Our Green Earth and an Introduction to Gardening. He'll explain why our gardens matter and hopefully inspire and encourage us to get started. Places are free and you can book here. There are two other sessions already in the calendar. Firstly, Scottish Badgers and the Scottish Wildlife Trust are bringing us a wild wellbeing session. This is an introduction to why getting outside is so important, how it helps us and what we can do to get the most out of our time outdoors. It will include ideas for how to go on a themed nature walk, the Five Minute Fresh Air Challenge, Timers for Noticing Nature and eating outside. One of the team will come to us live from a badger sett and show us how you can spot if there are badgers in your area. There'll be an opportunity to think about how to make your own personal Map to Wild Wellbeing too, so you can get outside and put what you have learnt into action after the event. You can book here.
Finally, on Thursday 25th January, just before the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch, join us for some tips and tricks for spotting and identifying the birds in your garden. I'm particularly looking forward to this one, as another thing I've been doing to connect to nature is to remember to feed the birds each day - and put out fresh unfrozen water for them. However I'm not great at identifying who the little chaps are who turn up to feast. More information about the session and booking here. There will be more of these sessions coming too, so do keep your eye out and share the information with anyone who you think would be interested. If you have any ideas for topics that would help people to connect to nature throughout winter and throughout lockdown then please do get in touch, or if you work with a group of people who would benefit from a session just for them, I'd be pleased to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org