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Selecting seeds, landscape art & natural wellbeing

January may well usher in the middle of winter but all around the garden plants are busy growing their roots and shoots in anticipation of the new year ahead. Whilst it may be too chilly to press on with outdoor jobs, it’s a good opportunity to flick through seed catalogues and order some treats to sow when the right moment arrives in another month or so. Plants from seed are often healthier, hardier and cheaper, and in some cases you’ll be rewarded with flowers in just a couple of months. If you’re stuck for ideas, why not choose a cut flower collection of say antirrhinum, cosmos and zinnia that will brighten the garden and provide a steady supply for indoors too.

In the event that you still want to get busy outside, but are on top of your tidying up, it’s a great time to indulge in concocting some landscape art from natural elements that are easy to hand. A couple of years ago, when the Beast from the East blew in, Paul and Art seized a quiet moment to take inspiration from the pioneering artist in the field Andy Goldsworthy. In no time at all they created a striking sculpture of mutually supporting branches that has stood up very well to the passage of time. Such pieces can be any size and made from seed heads, leaves, pebbles, twigs or even ice and snow if we get some, and can be as permanent or ephemeral as you like.

Whilst connecting with nature through art and craft or just walking outside, it’s often tempting and surprisingly helpful to reflect mindfully at this time of year upon the skeletons of bare deciduous tree branches. Remembering that what we can see spreading out against the sky is mirrored by the root network firmly anchoring the tree in the earth below, it’s beneficial to appreciate how well trees provide us with a good visual metaphor for our own inner lives and resilience in these particularly challenging times. Hopefully in 2021 we’ll be able to welcome many more of you back to the garden and enjoy our open days together once again.

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