When it gets to late Autumn in Scotland the cold temperatures dip and start to bother me, but never enough to put me off gardening. Gardening is what I enjoy doing most and it’s also how I make a living so I’m always eager to find out more about why we suffer from the cold scientifically, and what remedies and products I can try to reduce its impact.
Over the years I have sourced some of the best clothing and gadgets to help keep me warm and my best remedy (so far) is to pile on the layers before I go out in the morning – that means everything from natural marino wool base tops like this one from Millets to down jackets, Gore-Tex waterproofs and hats. I also find a hot flask of ginger tea works well.
Something I’ve not tried yet is thermal trousers as a base layer under my normal gardening trousers. I am keen to try these long functional pants from Engelbert Strauss who are experts in outdoor clothing. I’m sure they will be a huge help in keeping me warmer than usual over the coming months because they are made from 100% wool which means they will dry quickly if they get wet and they are also extremely breathable.
The science behind the Winter chill is that when we get cold, thermo-receptor cells under the surface of our skin respond and cause the tiny blood vessels near the surface of our skin – capillaries – to restrict in circulation and sometimes shut down, diverting the flow of blood to our core to protect vital organs such as the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys. This is basically the reason why people lose fingers and toes to frostbite.
In that respect it’s important to keep the centre of the body warm and I do find a fleece body warmer can be a huge help with that – by warming the core we are keeping our extremities warm too.
One area of the body which particularly bothers me in Winter is my hands and I’m always on the look out for gloves that will keep me cosy. When I’m not gardening I wear mittens as I find clustering the fingers together helps to produce more body heat, but that is obviously not ideal for gardening when I need full mobility to weed, hedge trim, clear leaves, etc. Last year I bought a great pair of gloves from the Royal Horticultural Society which are waterproof and fully insulated – they are the best I have found so far. However I would still like a warmer solution and I am absolutely open to ideas – if you have any please get in touch, I would love to hear from you!
In the meantime, please wrap up warm and get outside to the garden – this is a beautiful time of year when the sun is low, the leaves are so many different shades and there will always be a little robin to keep you company.