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And before winter really sets in…

It’s been getting really chilly over the last couple of weeks, often feeling more like winter than autumn. So what better way to warm everyone up, make use of the garden one more time, and use up the last of the pickings from your veg bed than with a Bonfire Night celebration? If you haven’t done ‘the big autumn tidy up’ yet then now’s the time!

Collect fallen leaves in plastic bin bags (perforated with a garden fork to give them some air), or in special leaf-composting sacks and leave them in a corner of the garden where they’ll gradually rot down to produce a rich, precious leaf mold that makes a fantastic soil conditioner. Thereafter, Choosing Best Riding Lawn Mowers For Hills that will make sure that I make the best of my garden.

Spent flower heads like those of Phlomis and Echinacea can look great left in situ especially when dusted with frost, but the tidy minded can cut down dead stems for a neater appearance. If there’s no more room in the composter, any leftover garden waste can go on the bonfire, but make sure it’s dry, and avoid too much grass, or you’ll smoke out the whole neighborhood! Decorate the garden with outdoor fairy lights (see homebase.co.uk for a great selection) and give the Hallowe’en lanterns a final outing – they cast great shapes when hung from bare branches or used to up-light trees and shrubs. If you want a proper bonfire and aren’t too precious about your lawn, use a sharp to lift up an area of turf and stack your firewood on the revealed earth. Afterward, clear away the ash, roll back the turf firm it down well, and by early spring you’ll never know the difference. Alternatively, fire pits and chimeneas are a great way to have more contained fire and come in both traditional and sleek modern designs.

Remember to check your bonfire before lighting it as at this time of year hibernating hedgehogs find them the perfect spot. Move any you find somewhere safe or ideally to a ready-made hedgehog box. Dust off the barbecue and try roasting slices of pumpkin or butternut squash with a little olive and fresh sage – delicious! Big bowls of hearty soup will warm them up from the inside and jacket potatoes taste extra special cooked on the bonfire (start them off in the microwave to save time).

We’d love to see your autumn garden colors just post a picture on our forums and we can all share the autumnal delights! Any smaller logs that don’t go on the fire can be stacked up in a shady, undisturbed part of the garden where they’ll make an ideal home for frogs, toads, and beneficial insects (like stage beetles if you’re lucky). If you’ve only been burning wood on your bonfire don’t waste the ash, it’s an excellent source of potash – sprinkle it around your brassicas to give them a bit of a boost. There’s still time to move plants or divide those that have got too big. Most ornamental grasses and hardy perennials can be divided now and used to fill any gaps in your borders. And finally, make yourself a cuppa and curl up on a warm sofa with a good plant or seed catalog and dream about how wonderful your garden is going to look next summer!