The FIVE things you need to do in your garden before bonfire night

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With the threat of COVID still looming, many large scale bonfires and firework displays have been cancelled this year. Hosting your own garden celebration can be just as enjoyable if you take the right precautions to protect you, your property and the wild mammals that may be lurking in your garden – and these are the five finishing touches you should make before your bonfire night festivities begin.

1. Watch out for wildlife

As we welcome November, more animals are preparing to hibernate for the winter.

Piles of leaves, branches and garden debris make for the perfect nest for small mammals like hedgehogs to bury themselves through the cold season – and your bonfire pile will look equally as inviting to these nocturnal creatures.

Be vigilant when building your bonfire stack and try to do it as late as possible to avoid attracting a group of nesting hogs.

Using a fire pit instead of a freestanding bonfire will keep it controlled and contained, making for a stress-free and safer celebration.

Calum Maddock, gardening expert from Home How, said: “You should leave any dropped leaves or branches in a corner of your garden and delay clearing it away until spring.

“This also provides a refuge for other animals, such as bats, worms, frogs and toads.”

2. Dust off your garden furniture

Bonfire night is often one of the last garden events of the year, before the temperature plummets ahead of winter.

Give your garden furniture a quick clean using a sturdy bristled brush, an old toothbrush and some soapy water.

Wipe away cobwebs, debris and dirt with your brush and use an old toothbrush for hard to reach areas before washing with the soapy solution and leaving to dry.

3. Re-use Halloween decorations

Halloween may have come and gone but there are still ways to use old pumpkins or garlands this Friday, 5 November.

Dot pumpkins, garlands and string lights around your outdoor seating area to cast warm hues as the night draws in.

Use tea lights in clusters for added ambience and dot blankets around seating for extra warmth.

Jess Martin, decoration expert at Ginger Ray commented: “If you do have a table, you may want to arrange some foliage you may already have this or be able to gather it from yourgarden, and then incorporate foliage string lights within any sparse areas which will act as a stunning centrepiece and another welcoming warm glow for guests.

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4. Use low-noise celebrations

Bonfire night can be a daunting time for garden wildlife and household pets – but low noise fireworks can help to take the edge off the loud bangs of traditional fireworks.

According to the London Wildlife Trust, noise pollution on bonfire night can be extremely frightening for local wildlife, including livestock and horses.

Loud bangs resemble thunder which can create prolonged anxiety and panic for cats, dogs, horses, birds and farm animals – it can even lead animals to run away out of fear.

Asda are selling low-noise fireworks, though Sainsbury’s have opted out of the sale of all fireworks this year in response to calls for a ban on these gunpowder light displays.

5. Cater for wild visitors

As well as watching out for wildlife in your garden this Friday, 5 November, be sure to cater to their organic palette to keep them distracted from your fiery celebrations.

Callum added: “To ensure garden birds remain well looked after, you should feed them with seeds during the colder months to keep their fat reserves high.

“Leave out sultanas, raisins and mixed fruit to create a ‘birdy dessert’ as well as ensuring suet feeders are available in order to provide birds with much-needed energy – which are also great for hedgehogs and other wildlife.”

Leave out meat-based cat or dog food and water bowls for hedgehogs at the opposite end of your garden, away from bonfire celebrations.

This will provide them with essential food and drink during the sparse autumn and keep them from wandering into the danger zone that is your bonfire.

Fireside drinks to serve this bonfire night

Once you have prepared your garden for your Guy Fawkes night celebrations, it’s time to make some fireside treats for you and your guests.

JÖRĐ have come up with their own warming yet fruity Nordic inspired drink to try this Friday night, and this is the recipe:

  • 500ml Jord Oat and Barley Drink
  • 50g fresh or frozen blackberries
  • 50g fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 50g fresh or frozen cherries
  • Two tbsp icing sugar
  • One tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

Add berries, cherries and icing sugar to a medium heat saucepan and stir until soft and sticky like a compote, then sieve.

Add Jord Oat and Barley drink to a medium heat pan and simmer before adding vanilla extract and chocolate – stir until the chocolate has melted.

Remove from the heat and mix in two-thirds of your berry mixture, before pouring into your favourite mug and adding a drizzle of the berry mix on top.

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