Grimsby Garden Centre knows more than most that green fingered activity is good for both physical and mental health.

Owned by NAViGO, profits from the centre go back into local mental health services across North East Lincolnshire, while the centre offers horticultural therapy and training and employment opportunities for people with mental health problems.

And with the Horticultural Trade Association estimating there are three million new gardeners since lockdown, the garden centre team are keen to share some useful hints and tips for anyone wanting to make the most of their outdoor space this winter.

Head of Employment and Commercial Services Jo Keen said: “We’re not surprised that more people have turned to gardening over the last year – we know first-hand how it benefits mental health and wellbeing as well as physical fitness.

“January and February are damp, cold months but with us all having to spend more time within the home – be it home schooling, working from the kitchen table or being furloughed – spending time in the garden can be a great escape and has real healing power.

“At this time of year there are still lots of things that you can do in the garden including planning for spring, deadheading plants, tidying borders – or simply layering up and spending a bit of time watching the birds and taking in nature.”

Grimsby Garden Centre's top tips include:

  • Trim and tidy: remove weeds, deadhead plants and tidy those borders
  • Plan for the year ahead – order seeds and plants and consider your vegetable crop rotation
  • Plant roses – now is a good time - and start off your sweet peas
  • Dig over vacant plots that have not been dug already
  • Prune apple and pear trees
  • Clear winter debris including leaves and scrub those slimy patches from patios and paving
  • Clean pots and greenhouses
  • Enjoy the fresh air on dry sunny days and check your winter protection – make sure stakes, ties and supports are still doing their job after the severe weather
  • Layer up and take your morning cuppa outside – take in the nature, see what new things are springing up, listen to the birds and get set for the day ahead
  • Or take a ten minute time out in your garden shed.
  • And don’t forget our feathered friends – put out food and water for the birds and leave some garden areas uncut a little longer to provide shelter for other wildlife in your garden.
  • If you don’t have your own outdoor space, use balconies and window ledges to brighten the home and embrace the benefits of indoor plants too. Lots of indoor plants can improve concentration, reduce stress and boost mood as well as purify the air.

Jo added: “Whether you’re a gardening newbie or an experienced expert, we welcome you to grow with us at Grimsby Garden Centre - we’re always on hand to provide hints and tips. And the added bonus of visiting us is that our profits go back into supporting NHS mental health services across North East Lincolnshire – so it really does go full circle.”

Grimsby Garden Centre was bought by NAViGO in October 2015.

The centre is currently undergoing transformation that will see the expansion of the popular Café Blue, the introduction of an eco-friendly green barn and the creation of an independent retail hub built from reclaimed shipping containers.