If you’ve a garden, think of self isolation as a bonus. Escape from the house, go into the garden and get busy. It can be absorbing, interesting and rewarding.

There really is life without Covid-19 as two minutes in the garden will show. Bulbs are bravely blooming, buds are bursting into life, bees are buzzing and birds are busily nesting. Relax and enjoy all this vibrant activity.

There are always jobs to do. I bet you’ve been too busy to get round to all the tidying up after winter. The recent hurricanes will have brought down branches, broken stems and loosened ties you had thought were secure. You can’t pretend you don’t have time now.

Going forward, the new season brings sowing and planting plans. There will be time to sow and bring on your own annuals rather than filling a garden centre trolley. And with a tighter budget, you’ll save some money. If you don’t have the seeds you need, mail order companies are at hand or you could give a friend your shopping list.

The lawn might benefit from a make-over, even if it’s too wet or cold to mow. I’d probably make a fortune renting out my geese to cut and fertilise your grass. But a lawn’s as tidy as its edges, so sort them out.

I always find working on new projects is fun. I’m sure you’ll have jobs you couldn’t normally fit in: building a new raised bed, laying out a border or replacing a collapsing old compost heap. What about painting a shabby gate or scrubbing down the greenhouse roof?

Some projects obviously have a price tag, but if the national shutdown has cost you money, why not reuse old materials. I’ve just finished making a rose frame out of old tent poles. It looks really great after a lick of paint.

As I write, the forecast looks promising for the rest of the month, so have a seat in the garden and soak up the atmosphere. There’s so much to see, hear and smell.

Watch how different plants grow. See the primula denticulata and chionodoxa flowers emerge from the ground almost in flower. Hyacinth and scylla flower spikes appear with their leaves, but you only see tulip flower spikes once the leaves have developed. How long do the different flowers bloom?

You could catch a glimpse of some early queen bumble bees. The 7 common garden species have different markings and head shapes, so it could be fun identifying the ones in your garden. Join them in enjoying the first fragrant whiff of wallflowers.

And birds put on a good show just now. Robins are among the most aggressive and territorial birds, with male and female only able to put aside their differences long enough to mate. And watch a hen dunnock committing an indiscretion with an opportunist cock while her partner’s out foraging. Look and listen out for migrant chiffchaff and blackcaps returning.

And life is absolutely everywhere. Collect 2 or 3 trowelfuls of soil and see how many different worms and other invertebrates you’ll find.

Regard it as a bonus that you now have time to see how the sights and sounds of the garden change throughout the day.

Why not start a diary to record all this information: the first sightings and numbers of different birds; what insects you see; how long it takes for plants to grow and flower. The list is endless! Back this up with photos and use Mr Google to learn more about the creatures you’re seeing.

During a family or business Skype or Whats Ap call, why not impress everyone with a burgeoning garden backdrop.

Plant of the week

Scilla bifolia ‘Rosea’ is the pink flowered variety of the normally blue Scilla bifolia. From a spike of pink buds pretty, pale, star shaped flowers open over a long period. Needs soil that is damp and does not dry out completely.