Keep fit in the garden and save on gym fees

All those wasted pounds, all those soon-to-be-dashed resolutions... we're well into January and a lot of people are joining a gym and trying to exercise.

WEIGHT WATCHING: Clear vulnerable tree branches of accumulations of snow.

For many, it’s an expensive failure. Far better to spend a few hours a week in some energetic tidying in the garden. Remember, the colder it is the more calories you burn. It’s almost worth overindulging at Christmas and the New Year.

Tidying also removes any hiding places for slugs and snails during the winter – a sure-fire way of reducing their numbers.

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If the soil is frosty or wet, try to keep off the beds because walking over them can easily destroy the soil structure.

Continue planting dormant shrubs and trees, and check that any newly-planted shrubs have not been lifted up by the winter frosts. If they have, use the heel of your welly to firm them back into the soil.

And if it snows heavily, get out the long brush and knock off any accumulations before the weight snaps or damages stems and branches.

And if you have any bare-rooted roses heeled in waiting to take up permanent residence in beds and borders, get the ground prepared for them.

Gardening can be more fun than a gym and it’s certainly not a treadmill. Enjoy.