Building the perfect garden bonfire can be a tricky task, especially when you are under pressure to perform! Here are some simple steps to follow:
- Try to choose a mild day (easier said than done in Britain!) with little or no breeze. If it is windy, try not to infuse your neighbours washing with eau-de-twig!
- Find a good, clear space away from trees and hedges. It is also important to check there are no roots as the fire could easily spread underground.
- Make sure you have plenty of wood which is dry – There should be no green present and it should snap with a crack if you try to break it.
- Divide your wood into roughly 3 sizes – kindling, sticks and logs – and build the bonfire from scratch. Small creatures have a habit of hibernating in neglected piles of logs and leaves, so if you aren’t starting fresh please check carefully for hedgehogs and other small visitors.
- Raid the recycling bin and magazine racks for old newspapers and scrunch some pages into different shapes. Leave some rough edges to light and add kindling to the top.
- When you’re ready, set light to the newspaper and throw used match-ends on to the fire. Be sure to keep the matchbox safe, especially from any pyromaniac kids!
- When the newspaper and kindling is burning nicely you can gradually begin to build the fire by adding larger sticks and logs, and when it is really roaring push larger items into the middle with a long-handled metal gardening tool such as a spade or rake.
- To keep control of the fire, water in a circle around the edge frequently and keep pushing the edges in.
- Enjoy! Stand back and admire your hard work with a glass of mulled wine and some roasted marshmallows. Don’t leave the fire unattended though until everything is well burnt… Apart from the garden, of course!