News – Page 6


Photo by Jean Powley


Jean Powley

Connect to Nature in Your Garden

Medical experts agree that spending some time in green space or bringing nature in to your life can benefit your mental health and wellbeing. It can improve your mood, reduce feelings of stress and anxiety and can help you to feel more relaxed. During lockdown many people have really suffered because their normal lives have been turned upside down.  People have felt imprisoned in their own homes.

I feel fortunate that I have been connected to nature for as long as I can remember. My grandfather, a farmer and market gardener, taught me a lot about the natural environment and my favourite teacher inspired me to become more involved. It wasn’t until much later that I discovered this teacher was Austin Dobbs who was incidentally the county recorder for birds. So with that background, I have found the last year relatively easy. For those of you who haven’t found life easy, there is a way you can get involved with nature from the comfort of your own home. All you have to do is look out of your window and watch the birds which visit your garden.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) holds its Big Garden BirdWatch during the last weekend of January and has been doing so since 1979 and each year more and more adults and children participate. Even schools now become involved. Over the years it has become an enormous success with around half a million people participating. However, the event is for one weekend of the year only, hence my recommendation to also join the British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) Garden BirdWatch scheme. The main difference between the two is that the RSPB’s event is for one weekend only, whereas the BTO’s is all year round.        

With the BTO scheme, all you have to do each week is spend a minimum of 20 minutes watching the birds visit your garden and write a list of them. At the beginning of the next week, you send your list (online) to the BTO GBW team at their head office in Thetford. From here researchers analyse and interpret the recordings of birds from participants all over the country. This helps to give us a better understanding of birds and helps to explain why some bird populations are dwindling and some are increasing. It also helps you to learn more about your garden and how local wildlife uses it. Since the scheme began in 1995 it has expanded in nature and membership. Originally, it was only birds which were recorded but over the years, it has developed to include mammals, amphibians, reptiles, butterflies, dragonflies, bees, and other insects. The most recent addition is a wildlife health section. You don’t have to be an expert on birds; you just need to be interested. 

Over the last year, it has been even more important to connect with nature. As our life has become very restricted, what better way to get to know your garden? If you would like more information or wish to join, it is free, just visit

Jean Powley

Jean is a voluntary Ambassador for the British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) Garden BirdWatch scheme in Nottinghamshire. If you enjoy watching birds and other wildlife in your garden, Garden BirdWatch may be perfect for you.

Presently the scheme is free to join and included will be an e-newsletter each month. Visit if you are interested.

Great Tits

Photo by Jean Powley


Photo by Jean Powley

The Modest Violet
Photo by Jean Powley

Woodborough Horticultural Society

What can Woodborough Horticultural Society offer for 2021?

Don’t forget that it is not too late to order seeds and stuff from Dobies Seed scheme.  There’s a vast amount to select from – not only seeds but also plants, tubers, young plants, all sorts of ‘bits and bobs’. Have a look at their website .  You may obtain discounts by entering Woodborough Horticultural Society’s unique code – you don’t have to be a member. The code is GD1106G. 

Like so many groups and societies, we had to cancel lots of events in 2020.  However, forever optimistic, we have made some bookings for 2021. Our meetings are very convivial, held in the Village Hall on Lingwood Lane at 7:30 p.m., always feature a raffle and a cuppa.  And a biscuit!  What’s not to like? Why not make a note in your diary and come along as our guest, to try us out on the following planned occasions?

Monday 10th May
The Rose Family – Dr. Graham Piearce

Monday 11th October
The Woodland Trust – Ian Retson

Monday 8th November
Derbyshire’s Historic Gardens – Jeff Bates

We’ll try to reorganise our trip to Harlow Carr and our other outings, shows and outings when we have more confidence so to do.

In the meantime, enjoy some fresh air, our lovely village and the prospects of another good gardening year.

Flower of the month

The flower associated with the month of February is the Violet and not a red rose as one might expect in February because of St. Valentine’s Day. Usually purple in colour, they do actually occur in a variety of colours. Want to know the difference between the Sweet Violet (Viola odorata) and the Dog Violet (Viola riviniana)? The former is scented whilst the latter is not. The Violet represents, modesty, faithfulness and virtue.

National Garden Scheme (NGS) Snowdrop Festival

In last month’s edition we informed you of some NGS gardens open in the county for snowdrops. Since the recent lockdown due to Coronavirus, visits to some of these gardens are either cancelled or are under review. Please check the NGS website for up to date information by visiting