As we collectively continue to battle coronavirus, the nation is facing more time in isolation. But many of us have access to green space, plants and gardens, so why not spend that time you would usually be in the pub, on growing, nature and your garden - however big and small. Here's another thought: if you're spending less through going out, perhaps a donation to all those excellent gardening charities and local nurseries might be an idea?

© Andrew Montgomery

Here's a selection of garden-related ideas that may help you pass the time faster.


Read those gardening books

We have a host of brilliant gardening people pick their favourite gardening books. Perhaps it's time to finally buy them online and start getting through them? Here's our favourites and Penelope Hobhouse's list features a host of classics. Don't miss our top 15 of last year too.


Make a garden plan

An illustration showing the plants used in a bold design for a late summer border by gardener Andrea Brusendorf
A bold design for a late summer border by gardener Andrea Brusendorf

This can be as simple as sketching out where you'd like things to grow - whether that be in pots, raised beds or in the ground. We have a series of excellent planting plans available to use, from our herb planting plan, to our spring border planting plan. The more you think ahead and plan for your garden the better it will be be for you.


Get sowing seeds

A photograph of vegetable seed catalouges

It's a great time to start sowing seeds. Use the suppliers on this list (a lot of them will deliver), to get them to you and start planting.


Prepare your soil for outdoor gardening

Gardener adds a forkful of manure to a bed being prepared for spring planting

One of the key tasks over winter is to prepare the soil. If you have a series of seeds and seedlings that will be germinating soon, make sure your soil is ready for them. Here's our mulching guide.


Think big about what you'd like to do to your garden

Adolfo Harrison's London small garden
Adolfo Harrison's London small garden © Richard Bloom

There are easy tips and tricks for how to transform your garden in simple ways. Use our guides on ten ways to improve your garden to inspire you. It can be very simple.


Tend to your houseplants

Brushed copper seedling tray for house plants

Pay attention to where they are. Is there a better houseplant spot? Spend a bit of time thinking about where each of your plants might be better off. They'll thank you for it. Here's our tips for the best kit for house plant gardening. Plus don't miss Jane Perrone's advice on how to look after your house plants over winter.


Build an arbour or support for your beans

A homemade hazel tunnel
© Jason Ingram

Here's our guide on how to create a bean pole support that uses coppiced willow and looks, frankly, lovely.


Plan and make an autumn container

A container planting display with Elymus magellanicus from Ben Preston
© Eva Nemeth

We have a series of brilliant container displays you can make yourself, all designed by some of the top plantspeople around. Choose one and get planting.


Sharpen and clean your tools

Clean your rusty tools with wire wool
© Britt Willoughby Dyer

The perfect time to get your tools shipshape. Here's how to sharpen tools and clean rusty secateurs. We've also rounded up our favourite whetstones to get the job done.


Create a compost heap

Composting household waste
© Andia/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

As the Land Gardeners say: 'a healthy garden starts with the soil'. Take the opportunity to set up your composting system, for whatever sized garden, so you can reduce waste and create a happy eco system. Here are our tips on how to compost for tiny gardens, and don't miss our advice on the best compost bins.


Make some gardening resolutions

POSIpots from Edible Culture
POSIpots from Edible Culture © Edible Culture

Avoid peat compost, plant for pollinators, reduce your plastic use in the garden. Think about the things you've always wanted to do but have never quite had the moment to set it in place.


Make your own origami seed packets

We suggest using the old pages of Gardens Illustrated magazine!


Build a bug hotel

Chris Packham CBE and Jamal Edwards MBE have joined forces to show how people can do their bit to help wildlife
Chris Packham CBE and Jamal Edwards MBE have joined forces to show how people can do their bit to help wildlife © John Phillips/Getty Images for National Lottery

This is one of the key ways of promoting insects, bugs and pollinators in your garden. Follow Chris Packham's advice and make space for bugs.

Big projects

For those of you with an eye on a huge project, why not learn how to build a garden studio, or even plant an edible garden. You could come out of this with an entirely new garden.

Here's what you should be thinking about over the next few months in the garden.

Don't forget: nature is all around us. You can get out and go for a walk, especially with the help of the National Trust, the RHS and many other gardens around the country: there are gardens that are still open.


And more than anything, stay healthy!


Daisy Bowie-Sell is digital editor of Gardens Illustrated. She has previously worked as a journalist for publications including the Daily Telegraph, WhatsOnStage and Time Out London