We all know why we need to go peat-free in our gardens (and here's a little background information into the issue).

But I'm very interested in the psychology of it, and what many people want (understandably) is for going peat-free to be a doddle.

The thing is, when it comes to buying plants, many people are often so eager that the peat question gets sidestepped in their excitement. I know - I've felt the urges! After all, none of the big mail-order plant companies are peat-free and there is a very high chance that your local garden centre grows its plants in peat or peat mixes - again, none of the big national garden centre chains are peat-free (although well done to B&Q for committing to stocking only peat-free composts by next year).

So where do you go? Here's where - a brilliant list of peat-free plant growers and nurseries that the writer Nic Wilson has collated and maintained over many years.

I love to drop in and see as many as I can, and this Christmas as I whistle-stop-toured around the country on family missions like Father Christmas himself, I visited one of the nurseries on the list - Hoo House Nursery near Gloucester.

I was so pleased to meet the owner, Julie, who has been growing plants entirely peat-free there since 2001. She mixes together different ingredients into her mix, including some  topsoil, which she says really helps the plant establish when they go out into the garden.

This is just one part of the nursery, where she grows 900 different garden-worthy plant varieties, loads of which are great for wildlife. It was an inspiring range.

Now it is midwinter, so you don't expect to see much colour or life in a plant nursery at this time of year, so imagine what this must look like from spring to summer.

And if anyone thinks that you can't grow plants well in peat-free compost, well, if Julie makes a living out of doing so.

So, my (Santa) hat off to Julie for being one of the peat-free pioneers. If you live within range of Gloucester and feel that plant bug coming on, you know where to go.

And if you live at the other end of the country, then Nic Wilson's list will probably have a nursery near you, and even if there isn't, there are many on the list that sell mail order.

So now there's no excuse for not going peat-free - and every excuse to go and buy something lovely to grow.

Anonymous