Forest Schools are inspiring places, designed to give children the opportunity to develop confidence and increase self-esteem in natural woodland. Nathan James Dodd suggests ten items that will useful in such an environment.
This is my guide on how to prepare your garden for the winter it's about to endure, I'll go over basic measures you can take to prevent any future problems from the dip in temperature.
Keep any plants that aren't fully hardy safe from frost damage by using frost protection fleece which is lightweight, strong and easy to cut, it also protects against birds and insects.
Bubble Insulation comes in rolls and can be fixed inside both aluminium and wooden greenhouses to keep heating costs at a reasonable level. Parafin heaters from Parasene will heat both greenhouses and cold frames, and there are also Botanico thermostatically controlled greenhouse heaters.
If we do have a snow this winter, a large snow shovel from Bosmere or a telescopic version from Yeoman will be invaluable. They will also prove their worth during the summer and autumn for moving leaves, so an all round sensible purchase.
To help you stay upright are shoe grippers. These lightweight studded attachments for the bottom of your shoes are the type of simple yet effective invention that you wish you'd have thought of first and presented on Dragons' Den.
They probably won't be needed if you have treated your path using a Bosmere Winter Salt Spreader, an excellent device that holds 5kg of de-icing salt. There is also the Winter Wizard Salt Stick. Slim and easy to use, all you do is twist it and one stick will cover 40 square metres with salt that can be bought separately.
All of these items can be found in our winter gardening shop.
Bird feeders range from nut dispensers to elaborate feeding stations. Many are squirrel proof, some discourage larger birds such as pigeons and others are designed for different types of seed and food.
Look out for seed mixes that are marketed for specific species such as robins, finches or tits or buy certain seeds, perhaps thistle to attract goldfinches and chaffinches. Suet and fat balls are excellent food sources for the long winter months and these can come with added cereals and seeds to provide a very effective energy boost.
A pond heater is a good way to keep it from freezing over fully, you might choose one with a thermostat to keep costs down or use an aeration unit (also known as an air pump) as an alternative. To keep an eye on whether the temperature dips below zero, a min/max garden thermometer or a pond thermometer will be useful. The most sophisticated will transmit the water temperature to a receiver inside the house.
Even if you aren't a boy scout, it really will pay to be prepared this winter with any of these quality products.
Pay attention to your lawn in the spring and Andy Taylor reckons you will receive dividends later in the year.
Looking to buy a timber planter but not sure what to purchase? David Coton provides some helpful advice on the many different designs that are available and how they can transform your patio and garden.
Log burners and open fires have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity over the past few years. Andy Taylor explains how you can have a continuous supply of dry, well seasoned, wood by investing in a log store.
With spring well under way, you may be considering buying a greenhouse, Andy Taylor tells you how this will increase your chances of successfully growing a wider variety of plants over a longer period of time.