We have shifted from Autumn into winter here in the northern hemisphere. Temperatures have dropped and the first frosts have arrived here in Leicestershire, England. Tender plants that need a blanket over winter are being wrapped up and the garden is put to rest.
The leaves have fallen, plants are dying, and some animals are either ready to hibernate or are already hibernating. This shift is symbolic of our own movement into resting. Winter is a time of reflection and rest, acknowledging our growth over the last year and allowing our minds and bodies to ease into warm blankets, cosy jumpers and gentle wondering as we wander with nature on chilly days.
If you go into nature now you will see Ivy berries forming and turning a deep glossy black. Blackbirds, thrushes, and even potentially Waxwings eating juicy red berries from hawthorn bushes. Now the leaves have dropped it is easier to see birds as they move through the trees.
As you wander you may see Mahonia flowers, like the picture, bright yellow beacons in the frosty air. Get up close if you can and inhale the sweetness of the flowers to boost your mood. There is also Viburnum “Bodnatense Dawn” which has small pink flowers on bare stems which provide a welcome pop of colour on dark days. Stand beneath the branches and breathe deeply to engage your senses as you smell the delicious aroma of the flowers.
Tips for welcoming winter
Wrap up warm and go gently into your space outside and spend time noticing frozen spider webs and icy patterns on glass.
Put out bird food regularly in winter and watch the birds that visit you whilst feeling cosy inside.
Change water in bird baths and defrost every day when icy so birds and small mammals can get a drink.
Never use anti-freeze in ponds, water features, bird baths or anywhere pets, animals and birds can get to. It is highly toxic and tastes sweet so can be tempting.
Get into nature as often as possible to combat the lower light levels and aid your natural circadian rhythm. This will aid better quality sleep.