Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Why wild flowers like bare bits

A couple of weeks ago I got very bold indeed.  My 6m2 of MeadowMat was cut down for hay at the end of July and the plants were recovering nicely, the grasses more so than the flowering plants. 

Now the danger here, is that the grasses get too strong and overwhelm the flowers, and so, to control the grass and give the flowering plants a sporting chance, I used my lawnmower to cut the whole lot short.  Really short.

New wild flower plants appearing where once there were bald patches
When the deed was done and the clippings were all raked off and put on the compost heap, my poor little wild bit looked very sorry for itself and I felt even more guilty than I did when I forgot to feed my Grandson's caterpillars and they died.  The grass was all brown and stubby, there were bare bits where I could see the soil, the broad leaved plants looked all feeble - it was just awful. .....and then it rained

Do you know what? After the rain, the wild flower plants have come back stronger than ever while the grasses are still looking a bit reticent and even better than that, in the baldy bits, there are lots of tiny seedlings starting to germinate.

I feel better now.  Thinking about it, extreme mowing has had the same effect as grazing animals in a traditional meadow would have.......grazing cuts the grass really short and stomping about with hooves creates baldy bits for new plants to germinate in.

Frog in MeadowMat aka Maxine's Toad in the Hole
 Maxine Tricker from Max Your Garden in Hertfordshire knows all about bare bits in wild flower meadows and she has the pictures to prove it.  They're not bald bits, they're hidey holes for frogs.  Love it!
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