Embracing the Great British Weather: Rediscovering the Joy of Staycations

Embracing the Great British Weather: Rediscovering the Joy of Staycations

Staying in the UK this summer?  Embrace the unpredictability of the British weather, seize the opportunity to explore, and make the most of every moment. After all, the best adventures are often found right in our own backyard.
Unlocking the Charm of Online Shopping: Supporting Independent Retailers in the UK

Unlocking the Charm of Online Shopping: Supporting Independent Retailers in the UK

In the dynamic landscape of retail, online shopping has emerged as a game-changer, offering convenience, variety, and accessibility like never before
Easter Weekend Fun: 5 Exciting Activities for Small Children + Gift Ideas!

Easter Weekend Fun: 5 Exciting Activities for Small Children + Gift Ideas!

Easter weekend is upon us, and it's the perfect time to create unforgettable memories with your little ones.
Time to Get Real - Focus on the Job at Hand

Time to Get Real - Focus on the Job at Hand

The last day of January!!  Thank goodness!

January is possibly my least favourite month of the year,  except for 1993 when my first born arrived - that was a good year!  It's the barrage of self-improvement, do this, don't do that, messages combined with dark mornings, dark nights and generally gloomy weather that does nothing to revive my spirits for the start of the year ahead.

Tomorrow will be different.

Already the days are getting longer.  It's a lovely feeling to leave work and it's not pitch black.  You know that in a few short weeks the weather will improve, buds will start to show and moods and spirits will lift in anticipation of Spring.  As Love Unlimited sang, "It may be Winter outside, but in my heart it's Spring"!

The promise of warmer days, more time outdoors gets me to planning.

Not planning dry February, or 100 press ups a day, I start planning my garden.

What will I grow this year.  Is it worth fighting the grubs for my organic veg?  Is the work planting from seed better than just buying trays of bedding plants?  What colour am I painting fences and furniture?

It's now that I start my check list, feel free to use mine if it's of interest!

Plant Regeneration

Trim back hedges and shrubs to avoid those ugly woody stems that develop over the years.  Prune back old stems to encourage new shoots in the spring.

Roses are an example of a plant that benefits from regeneration (but not all roses).

Winter Tip: When all the leaves have fallen make time to clear unwanted or poorly looking plants and feed the soil.  It might be a good time to plan your display for spring on this new blank canvas?

Did you know? All wild nesting birds are protected by law. These means that you cannot deliberately disturb a wild birds nest between 1st March and 31st July. For many woody plants, winter is the best time for pruning and it avoids disturbing wild bird nests.

Know your plant before you prune!  Different trees, shrubs and climbers all have different needs and at different times of the year:
Winter pruning often involves cutting back woody growth and therefore takes longer and results in large amounts of cuttings. By getting these jobs out of the way in the off season you’ll be free to concentrate on the planting and maintenance in the spring and summer.  Your garden will look better and you’ve spread the workload and cost over the year.

General Tidy Up. British winters can be cold, windy and frosty but we can also get quite warm spells too and weeds will continue to grow during a mild winter. By clearing the debris of leaves and broken and damaged plants you will improve the look and well-being of the garden. Good garden hygiene also helps to reduce diseases. Sweep away leaves and moss from paths and hard ground.  Leaves will fertilise weeds allowing them to establish themselves in cracks and paths.  Regular weeding means less weeding.

Winter Planting. Some plants (like roses) lie dormant in the winter and so can be moved.  As long as the soil is not frozen or waterlogged, these dormant plants can be planted before they 'wake-up' in the spring.

Bulbs such as crocus, tulips and iris are often planted in late autumn. Herbaceous plants (Daffodils, cyclamen and periwinkle) are often divided and replanted in early spring depending on your local climate.

Only heavy frost and snow will stop a keen gardener!

Soil Preparation

Winter is a good time to re-design ready for spring.  If you want to add a new border, feel free to leave the soil in clumps as the cold, wet and frost will help to break it down naturally, it will also kill off any pests by exposing them to natural predators such as birds and the hedgehogs you’ll attract using the seeds from the Spring Seeds, Winter or Nature Seeds gift boxes.  The same rules apply to any vegetable plots.

Is your lawn a state? Often if you have pets and/or kids your lawn area will take a hammering over summer and so the winter is a good time to remove sections of turf, add/remove soil and relay. Lawns can be reseeded and grass grows if the temperature is above 5 degrees.

Landscaping Repairs

Now that you can see your garden in its bare bones, what repairs are needed?

- Repair any leaks on sheds and greenhouses

- Invest in a water butt

- Create or purchase a compost bin

- Repair and paint fences and furniture

- Repair any loose paving slabs

- Pressure wash paths and patios

- Build or buy a bug hotel

When you have a list of hard graft jobs like this to consider you certainly don't need a January exercise plan!

Check out our Garden Collection for gifts that will inspire your green fingered loved ones!  You'll also find some garden inspired gifts for Mother's Day too.

 Spring is about to spring - and I for one can't wait!

 

Heartfelt Gestures: 5 Ways to Show You Care Without Breaking the Bank

Heartfelt Gestures: 5 Ways to Show You Care Without Breaking the Bank

Most meaningful gestures often come from the heart, not the wallet. In this blog post, we'll explore creative and thoughtful ways to show you care without spending a lot of money.
Embracing Tranquility: A Guide to Relaxing Over Christmas

Embracing Tranquility: A Guide to Relaxing Over Christmas

This Christmas, give yourself the gift of tranquillity and embrace the magic of the season with a calm and open heart.
Christmas Gift Ideas for Couples

Christmas Gift Ideas for Couples

Christmas is a wonderful time and there is nothing more satisfying than seeing the smile on your loved ones faces when they open a well thought out gift box
Reduce Stress and Gain Back Time.  Ideas and gift suggestions for busy individuals.

Reduce Stress and Gain Back Time. Ideas and gift suggestions for busy individuals.

How do we find that work/life balance and sustain it so that we make time for us, reduce stress and find our inner peace?
Winter - A time for Romance and Gift Giving

Winter - A time for Romance and Gift Giving

Christmas has always been a time of giving and receiving, with the majority of retailers making the majority of their profits in the last few months of the year.  The pressure of buying the perfect gift for someone can be a lot to deal with, but sometimes the simplest words are the truest: it’s the thought that counts (although as a gift shop, the less said about that the better)!
How Time Flies - 3 Years On and Gifting has never been so easy.

How Time Flies - 3 Years On and Gifting has never been so easy.

It's been almost three years since we first launched Ooh-Box and it has certainly been a "journey".  In truth, if someone asked me would I do it now - I think I would probably say "No"! but so much time and love and energy has been invested and it's been slow - but then Rome wasn't built in a day!
Why educational toys are not boring! Toddler Gifts to Educate and Inspire

Why educational toys are not boring! Toddler Gifts to Educate and Inspire

Over the years the research into early years learning and development has changed so much.  From what I was shown when my two were born almost 30 years ago, to a whole new learning for my grandchildren.  It's quite scary when what you thought you knew no longer applies.
Time for Bed - 5 Handy Hints to Help You Wind Down.

Time for Bed - 5 Handy Hints to Help You Wind Down.

We all need to chill out, unwind, de-stress and just take some time out away from the things that bug us, and focus just on ourselves.  Sound selfish?  We don't think so!