As the festive season recedes to a distant memory and the dark days of winter feel endless, it is easy to overlook the subtle changes that signify spring is not too far away. But look closely and you may spot the green shoots of spring daffodils nudging their way through the soil, the delicate white flowers of snowdrops beginning to open or the first buds slowly emerging from winter branches.
The blooms of late winter flowering shrubs and trees also lend themselves to the promise of milder, more abundant times to come: the golden shimmer of Hamamelis flowers in low winter sunlight, or the enticing fragrance of Daphne Odora ‘Perfume Princess’ in the cold morning air.
In the vegetable garden, garlic and onion sets planted in autumn begin to burst through the soil and thoughts turn to plans for the growing season ahead.
As each day passes, changes in daylight become subtly discernible, and the wildlife begins to respond. The birds in your garden become more vocal and active as they start to establish territories and prospect for suitable nest sites. It is important to keep feeding them at this time of year as they build up their reserves ready for the nesting period.
So when the winter days seem to drag on, wrap up warm and get outside to appreciate the small changes that are gradually taking place. When the cold gets too much, plan your vegetable garden and herbaceous borders for the growing season ahead, and look forward to the delicate beauty of the spring season that is not too far away.