In October, David Coton is getting the garden prepared for the onset of colder weather but, at the same time, the arrival of spring bulbs in the garden centre is a reminder that you should also now be planning ahead for next year.
More than half of the medicines we use today are derived from plants and Nathan James Dodd recently visited the famous Chelsea Physic Garden in London to gain inspiration for his own medicinal garden.
Extracts from plants as diverse as foxgloves and pineapples, camellias and artichokes have been, and continue to be used, in many parts of the world.
For example, you're probably more familiar with acetyl salicylic acid than you might think.
Used for over 2000 years, it relieves aches and pains, reduces inflammation and fever, and has evolved from a plant source – willow tree bark - and is the active ingredient in Aspirin.
The plants I have listed are easily obtainable and not difficult to grow. You'll find many in your garden already.
Whether you grow from seed or plug plants, all that's needed is a relatively fertile, well drained, soil that gets the sun for at least half the day.
You don't even have to grow them together, with good foliage and attractive flowers many will not look out of place in an ornamental flowerbed.
Try these top ten readily available medicinal plants:
Garlic: Excellent to relieve colds and flu with antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties
Peppermint: Helps with indigestion and relieves upset stomachs
Rosemary: Eases fatigue, calms digestion and has anti-depressive qualities
Lemon Balm: A relaxant to cure headaches and migraines and now thought to aid memory
Lavender: Has been used to relieve stress and anxiety and a multitude of other ailments
Parsley: A very nutritious herb that is said to help with urinary and kidney problems
Evening Primrose: The oil is used to help menopausal problems and eczema, and may even relieve hangovers
Calendula: Has a long history in the treatment of wounds and soothing the skin
Thyme: Used for intestinal problems, as an antiseptic mouthwash and anti-fungal applications
Echinacea: Said to ward off infections and can also be employed as a laxative
They can of course also be grown in window boxes, pots and planters filled with compost, in fact for an invasive plant such as peppermint, this would be preferable.
Container growing is also a good solution if you have limited space. A collection of different sized pots and planters will prove an attractive addition to patio or decking.
Some of the plants and herbs can be continuously harvested while for others it is an annual event. Then you have to decide the best way to use them.
For many different ideas I can recommend James Wong's book 'Grow Your Own Drugs' which is based on his TV series.
Although the days are short and the view from our Garden Centre is frosty and overcast, Andy Taylor suggests various jobs that can be done in the garden during the month of January.
Showcasing young musical talent, this year's Winter Concert at Arthur Terry School was an outstanding success and took place against the stunning backdrop of a Christmas Tree donated by GardenSite.
It was quite an honour for GardenSite to be asked to supply the Christmas Tree to Birmingham New Street Station this year, and to celebrate we're offering a Champagne High Tea to the winners of a seasonal selfie competition.
With Storm Caroline reeking havoc many people are likely to be contacting their insurance companies at some time regarding damage caused to sheds, greenhouses, fences and other garden property. Robert Hall explains how GardenSite.co.uk can help with an independent insurance quote and claim.