Like so many of you, I start every new year with intentions to eat healthier. This year, helping birds to do the same is on my list of resolutions. Gardeners can be their lifeline in midwinter, with icy nights and a shortage of natural foods stacked against them. So our actions on this really matter. We spend, as a nation, £297m a year on bird food – that’s a mind-boggling £813,698 a day! We set out to gauge whether we were getting all we expected from our bird food, and whether pricier feeds were worth the money. The results? Well, read more, in our special birds section from page 74, but, in short, there’s some shockingly low-grade feed for sale. Dog biscuits anyone? No, I didn’t expect that either. Only you can decide the price you put on helping birds in need. But I for one will be looking more closely at what I buy – and doing so on quality not price. It’s a tricky balance, when we’re all watching our wallets, so I’d love to hear what you think. Let us know. Elsewhere in this issue, we’re getting all excited by seed sowing again. I’m already dreaming of summer flowers. So have a read and start planning. And together let’s make this the best-ever year in our gardens.
PSJoin Monty, me and associate editor David Hurrion on an exciting and exclusive reader trip to Provence, from 3-8 June. Private gardens, food and wine-tasting, lavender trails, stunning scenery and more await! See p34.