It’s 6.32pm on Sunday 25 March. The day’s sunlight quickly wanes and the countryside becomes enveloped in a blanket of winter darkness. Summer feels so long ago. Last spring was a lifetime.
The next day – slightly disorientated by your clock-altering exploits in the middle of the night – you feel excited. The day flows by and before you know it, it’s 6.32pm again. Yet unlike the previous evening, the sun still sits proudly in the sky. Daylight saving – and the spring equinox a week earlier – mark the arrival of spring.
How can you make the most of your extra hour of daylight?
1. Get stuck into gardening
March and April are great months for getting into the garden. Plant onions, potatoes and summer bulbs, work your compost and protect emerging shoots from slugs. Stay on top of early growth by mowing the lawn (when dry), weeding and pruning bushes.
When you’re finished, pull out a deckchair, pour a cold drink and marvel at your own, astounding productivity.
2. Make a bird feeder
Longer days bring greater opportunities for observing birdlife in your garden. Why not make a simple bird feeder and hang it in view of your kitchen or bedroom window? Try making one from a conifer cone:
Conifer cone bird feeder
- Rub lard between the seeds of a conifer cone
- Press birdfeed into the lard
- Hang the cone from a tree or hook away from windows and close to a natural refuge such as a tree or hedge.
- Watch as your garden fills with birds. And be sure to keep the feeder topped up.
3. Blossom Walk
Even after a nine-to-five there’s enough daylight to head out on a stroll and see early spring’s blossoming trees. Hawthorn’s turn white and pink with thick clusters of blossom, while later in the month wild cherry trees turn white with blousy petals. Look out for the crab apple bloom, its sweetly scented flowers an important source of early pollen for bees.
4. Have a BBQ
Wait for a balmy spring day, and then strike with your first BBQ of the year before the sun goes down. Cook seasonal foods such as celeriac, halibut, leek and spring lamb. Add a few foraged ingredients – such as dandelion leaves and wild garlic – to liven up the meal.
5. Sunset walk
With the clocks pushed an hour forward, the sun now sets at 7.34pm. Head out on an evening walk, climb to a high point or find a beach close to your house and watch the sunset. Returning home, listen for the song of the robin – an effective hunter even in dim light – and the call of the owl.
6. Watch the lambs play
Grab a blanket and hot drink, and then leave the house for the nearest sheep field. Surrounded by daisy-flecked grass, admire the joyfulness of the newborn lambs as they leap and kick through the verdant pasture. It’s a sure-fire way to make you smile.
7. Fly a kite
This simple and nostalgic activity is a great way to spend your extra hour of daylight. Find a nearby beach, hill, park or garden, untangle the strings and set flight to your kite.
8. Make a Mother’s Day gift
Sit outside in the sun and take on one of our seven easy makes for Mother’s Day.
9. Embrace a spring shower
Next time the heavens open, refrain from popping your umbrella and running for shelter. Embrace the rain, and remind yourself that there are few things quite as magical as water falling from the sky.
10. Grow cress on your windowsill
Cress is one of the easiest edibles to grow and a great way to make the most of an extra hour of daylight.
How to grow cress
- Find a plastic tray – a rinsed food container works perfectly
- Line the base with tissue paper or cotton wool and coat generously with water
- Sprinkle cress seeds across the surface, then cover the container with plastic wrap
- Place in a sunny windowsill, watering regularly
- This quick-growing seed will be ready to harvest in a week or so. Add to salads, sandwiches or eat on its own as a tasty snack
Photography ©Getty Images
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