With only a few months' training under her belt, GardenSite's own Flori Bosnigeanu took part in this year's Great Birmingham Run, raising over £500 for the city's Children's Hospital.
Autumn gardening is unfortunately about saying farewell to the warm summer days and Nathan James Dodd has a few suggestions on how best to prepare for winter.
Activity in the autumn garden doesn't cease, in fact it's a busy time – collecting and gathering up the fruits of summer, repairing, tidying and generally getting ready for the colder, less kind, months ahead.
The clearest indication that the seasons are changing is when the lush green leaves start to turn yellow and brown before falling to the floor. To collect them from paths is important as any rain will turn leaves into a potentially dangerous skiddy surface.
You might find a pair of leaf grabbers useful, but don't burn the leaves you collect, store them in black plastic bags with a few holes poked through. They will break down (it might be useful to shred the thicker leaves such as chestnut and sycamore to quicken the process) but the result will be superb potting or seed compost. If you can't wait, leaf mould that hasn't been left for as long can be used as a soil conditioner.
At the end of the summer there's plenty of material that needs to be composted, plants that have had their day in the sun and cuttings from hedges after their autumn trim. You needn't spend time testing your DIY skills, attempting to construct your own composter with a saw and nails. Sturdy, ready built timber compost bins and more modest versions are available at very affordable prices.
Before the leaves start falling it's best to cover your garden pond, any dropping to the bottom will pollute the pond with noxious gases when they rot. Netting of various gauges can be bought off the roll or in set sizes and if laid properly can be almost invisible. You will also be thwarting any herons who are on the look out for lunch. See our guide to Pond Netting.
Making sure your pond is clear of excessive silt, sludge and rotting vegetation, why not consider a multi-purpose wet and dry garden vacuum. It has a 35 litre reservoir with an easy self-emptying action, and will deal efficiently with garden leaves as well as pond debris.
The colder weather and any early frost can reek havoc if you have plants outside that aren't fully hardy, so use fleece to protect them. Very lightweight yet strong, fleece is easy to cut and will also provide a barrier against birds, insects and wind damage. To protect greenhouse plants and keep heating costs to a minimum use bubblewrap on the inside of greenhouse glazing for insulation.
Covering expensive garden furniture and equipment is also important. You really don't want to be met with chairs and tables covered in grime next spring, so use waterproof covers that are specially shaped to fit furniture and hammocks as well as barbecues. Bosmere market a complete range including bench and patio set covers.
You've probably invested quite a lot of time and money in your garden this summer. Don't let it go to waste, as any ex-boy scout will tell you, 'Be Prepared'.
Vist our Autumn Shop for more gardening products and ideas.
Create a Halloween party in your house or garden with ideas and suggestions from David Coton that will keep your children and neighbours thrilled and spooked on the 31st October.
Looking for some advice on how to decorate your garden for halloween? David Coton has some great ideas to help you create a horror themed garden to scare your neighbours and any trick & treaters who come to your door.
Used originally to frighten away evil spirits, now placed near the front door to deter trick or treaters, carved pumpkins have been part of Halloween for a very long time. Here Martyn Loach explains the process of creating the scariest pumpkin in your street.
To grow the biggest, scariest pumpkin in time for Halloween isn't easy as they take some time to mature and prefer a warm climate. To have the best chance of success Martyn Loach recommends sowing seed indoors during April and then planting out in late May or June.