A huge number of people have discovered (or re-discovered) the joys of gardening this year, so as the seasons change, I wanted to offer a few ideas on how to keep the momentum going throughout winter and beyond.

Those who are new to gardening may think it’s time to hang up the tools for the winter as soon as the leaves begin to fall… but as the seasoned gardeners among you will know, now is the traditional time of planning for Spring, with plenty of opportunities for more instant gratification along the way.

In the first of two seasonal blogs, I’ll offer up some tips on how to keep the colour coming over the next few months, but only on the understanding that you’ll consider some longer-term projects next week!

Flowering pots – any pots planted in spring and summer will probably be starting to fade and will need spicing up. Take out the offending plants and several inches of compost, as by now it will be exhausted, and refill the tub with new potting compost before replacing with plants that will flower over the next few months. These include the wonderful Violas with their bright faces or the larger flowered pansies, available in a vast range of colours.

New varieties – for a boost of colour, plants such as Cyclamen are now available in new varieties that give a spectacular display for long periods outside in the garden. In the old days, we had varieties that were only suitable for inside the house, but these new ones will grow happily outdoors even as the weather gets cooler.

Heathers – many of these in flower right now love our local soils and will keep going for many months, whatever the weather throws at them. There are pinks, reds and whites and when the weather is warm enough, insects, including bees, will really enjoy feeding from the flowers.

Weeds – some gardening needs a bit of perseverance and it’s a good time to pull up any weeds in the borders. This will be much more enjoyable than watching them take over from the kitchen window, and will give you a good start in the Spring.

So there’s plenty that can be done now to give your garden a lift – so it in turn can give you a lift every day – but the real satisfaction comes when you’ve laid the foundations for fantastic displays come Spring. After all, you get out what you put in. More on that next week…