Saturday, 23 July 2011

My Wonderful Wildflower Meadow Gets The Chop This Weekend

wild carrot

The time has come.  This weekend I am going give my MeadowMat a haircut.  I know it's the right thing to do but still it feels just a little bit wrong.

Earlier in the week I spotted a fresh flush of flowers, oxeye daisies, wild carrot, birds foot trefoil, red clover and a single, brightly coloured cornflower.  Heaven only knows how the cornflower got there - it's not in the seedmix but nevertheless it's stunningly beautiful. 

oxeye daisies amongst the grass flowers

Ironic isn't it.  I've been waiting for weeks for a floral display and then I go and chop it down.  No wonder my husband thinks I'm loopy!  But chop it down I must.

birds foot trefoil, such a lovely clear colour

Yesterday I spent a pleasant few hours with members of the East Anglian branch of the Institute of Horticulture.  We talked about the whys and wherefores of green roofing before going on to discuss the merits of MeadowMat.  As part of the visit, we wandered on to the MeadowMat production field to view the developing crop.  It's been a while since I visited the field and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised and what I found.  Production Manager, Robert Allen, did warn me a fortnight ago that he'd set about the MeadowMat with the mowers and he'd cut it right back and so I was expecting to see  a scalped looking crop.  Oh my goodness, I couldn't have been more wrong and I wish I'd had a camera with me.  This latest batch of MeadowMat looks fantastic!  The grasses have a discreet presence and the flower plants are thriving.  There's a really wide variety of strong, healthy plants and although there may not be many flowers at the moment, I could see that next spring/summer there will be a cornucopia of colour.

Having seen how a good haircut has revived the MeadowMat in the production field.  I'm confident that it will do the world of good in my small patch.  So I've invested in a good pair of shears (no mower will tackle grass that long and the strimmer might mash up the cuttings too much) and I'm planning on cutting the whole lot down to 3 or 4 inches tall tomorrow. 

Yellow Rattle seeds for sowing this autumn. 
Yellow Rattle attracts bees and is a fabulous meadow plant because
it helps to keep grass plants from dominating the sward
Before I get cutting though, I have collected up some seed heads.  Some to keep and sow back into the sward once I've cut it - just in case they don't fall out of the hay while it's drying on the surface - and some to post to a lady in St Albans who has got a couple of bare patches in her MeadowMat.

There's plenty of growth in my patch at the moment so I suspect that once it's all been cut and dried, we'll have two  delighted family members - Lily and Lunar, my grandson's guinea pigs who will be tasked with eating the hay....and I think they'll make a very good job of it.

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