Fire Pits and Flowers

Here at FirepitsUK HQ, we’ve welcomed the announcement that the marmite of the gardening world, fake grass, is banned from the 2022 RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Plastic grass and fire pits have never been easy bedfellows, what with the whole potential for melting, though obviously it’s primarily good news for the environment, as real grass plays host to wildlife and doesn’t choke the planet with non-biodegradable plastic fragments. But while plastic grass is being shown the door, but not the garden door, we thought we’d explore the natural features that will sit well next to our fire pits.

Whether your fire pit takes pride of place as the focal point in your garden or your chiminea is tucked into the corner to create a cosy area of quiet reflection, plants can help soften the border between your ember bliss and the life in your garden.

What to plant near your fire pit

There are plants which will actually benefit from being close to your fire pit or chiminea. Lavenders, sage and yukka, in particular, can handle the heat thrown out from your fire pit and prefer the drier microclimate a regularly lit fire can create in your garden.

Herbs also make lovely fire pit bedfellows as that sprig of thyme and tear of oregano close to hand can enhance your fireside cooking. The freshness of herbs plucked straight from the plant to cooking pot are all the better to infuse your cooking with their flavour.

If your fire pit is a permanent feature in the garden, as ours are thanks to being made from robust British steel, then a mid-winter fire can also help stave off the frost that is such a bitter pill to swallow in our British climate.

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What plants to avoid near your fire pit

Wood ash makes an excellent garden fertiliser, but not everywhere. Some plants cannot abide it. As a general rule, don’t have any of these ash haters near your fire pit as they could be dosed with an unwelcome sprinkle if they are placed downwind from your fire. This includes Australian native plants, Rhodies, Camellias and Azaleas.

Trees are also a consideration when planting or placing your fire pit in your garden. Pine trees and fire pits should never been seen together. Their dropped leaves are very dry, and a spark from a fire could be disastrous if caught up in the drier lower branches of a pine tree.

In general, low branches overhanging your fire pit should be trimmed back as well. But overhead trees aren’t necessarily a problem if their branches are high enough out of reach from flames and sparks.

How close is too close for fire pits and flowers

Plants within two to three feet of a fire pit are likely to get a sprinkling of ash and have to withstand a fair amount of heat from the fire. Any plant five feet away from your fire pit should be largely unaffected.

If you have lots of planters in your garden, then anything within two to three feet of your fire pit should be able to withstand the heat. Metal or ceramic pots work best, and your wooden or dare we say plastic pots should be kept further away from your fire pit.

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Plant low or high with your fire pit in mind

Another consideration when planting near fire pits, or placing fire pits near plants, is height. This time we’re talking not safety but aesthetics. Our fire pits range from the low-lying Celeste to the knee-high Legs Eleven and the table height Planter, and placing flowering plants which complement their stature is a lovely way to make your fire pit feel right at home in your garden.

You may prefer trailing or ground covering plants, such as Petunias and Geraniums to create a carpet of flowers if your fire pit and seating area are relatively low to the ground. Asters, Sea Holly and Bee balm are brilliant at attracting wildlife and at a level which complements our middling height Plain Janes and Box Ds. Lupins, Hollyhocks and Delphiniums could see eye to eye with your table height fire pit, outdoor kitchen or pizza oven.

If you need any help deciding on which fire pit, chiminea, pizza oven or outdoor kitchen is right for your garden, then please get in touch over email or ring us on 01873 840 777.

Visit us at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2022, at the Silverland Stone stand  from 24 – 28 May.

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