|Tommy Walsh talking to Chris Carr in front of the MeadowMat|
stand at the BALI Landscape Show
On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week the whole team was at the BALI Landscape show where celebrity landscaper Tommy Walsh called in to chat about MeadowMat and so today was the first chance in ages I've had to rummage about in my wild flower garden to see what's happening.
After a week of lovely damp weather, most of the grasses in my MeadowMat patch are in full flower and many of the native perennial plants look as though they'll soon be blooming as well and that raises the question When and how do I cut my meadow? Intensively managed hay meadows - where nutrient values are everything will soon be sliced by vast mechanised blades, the hay will turned over a couple of times to make sure its dry before it's baled and stored for winter feeding. But I don't want to cut my meadow just as the clover, yarrow and meadow pea are flourishing and so I have a dilemma.
|yarrow bud pictured late june|
|red clover flower blooming in meadowmat|
In the days of yore, farmers with traditionally managed meadows cut their hay when the yellow rattle plants set seed - hence their other name "hay rattle". It's obvious when the seeds of the yellow rattle are ripe. They literally make a rattling noise when the wind (or a curious person) shakes the plant. I'm told that the traditional date is th 25th of July. For a modern day farmer, this could well clash with the cereal harvest but back in the day, when crops were sown in spring and harvested in autumn, late july or early august probably brought with them the best weather for drying hay in the field.
|some of my yellow rattle has already set seed|
|yellow rattle is setting seed in MeadowMat|
while red clover is just beginning to bloom
|butterfly feeding on wild flower|
|resting on a blade of grass|
|busy bee pollinating a bramble|
|grass flowers are beautiful too|