First signs of spring begin to show despite the snow

Many gardeners will have started to notice the days getting longer, with the gloom of December soon to be a distant memory.

With the sun edging higher in the sky, spring bulbs are beginning to break through the earth as spring gets ever closer.

Bishops Stortford garden designers Adam Woolcott and Jonathan Smith, who have together won three medals at the Chelsea Flower show, told the Herts and Essex Observer that there is "much to encourage the soul" during January.

"During any milder spells dont be tempted to cut back any frost damaged plants, leave them as they are until the warmth of spring arrives," they recommended to the newspaper.

"Continue to remove leaves and debris from lawns but avoiding walking on them when theyre frozen or saturated."

The gardening experts conceded that there is little that can be done in the garden during periods of snowfall, although any snow should be shaken from trees and bushes to avoid branches becoming weighed down.

Mr Woolcott and Mr Smith won the Best Courtyard prize at the 2007 Chelsea Flower Show for their Old Gate entry, which was based on a 1930s or 40s farm.