Friday, 14 November 2014

our own wildflower meadow

Flower meadows have been disappearing rapidly in our countryside. At the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust fiftieth birthday celebration we pledged to create a wildflower meadow crescent that would frame the gardens of our two bungalows. Great for us and even better for wildlife.

We scalped away the tarmac surface of the old service road that served this former mushroom farm site. Perversely, we left the unpromising substrate because wildflower seeds do best in soil that lacks fertility. We scattered a ragbag of wild and cultivated flower seeds and were rewarded with a lovely display of poppies, marigolds and phlox this summer. Now I've scythed and then mowed to take away the end of season growth. This removes fertility from the soil and gives less vigorous flowers a fighting chance against thuggish grasses. In the days of long ago and far away farmers would release their grazing animals onto their meadows to feed on the autumn grass. In doing so the animals would 'poach' the grassland (make muddy patches with their hooves) and this would create spaces where wildflower seeds could germinate. 
It would take more money and decades than I have to create an authentic wildflower meadow. But that doesn't stop our ambition so we collect and are given wildflower seeds which we scatter as we develop the meadow areas. The seed of cowslip, marsh fritillary and cammassia (recent gifts from Linda and from Ann) have been scattered in the 'poached' muddy, waterlogged area - we hope the little seeds will love these conditions and go on to thrive.

Around the meadow will be planted lots of glorious prairie perennials and ornamental grasses. These will provide overwinter shelter and plenty of seeds for birds and animals.
Great for us - and even better
for wildlife.

For now, the meadow will have a well-earned rest until spring arrives. Can't wait!!

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