Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Mini Meadow

After much delay: Mini meadow = ✔

I have transplanted Self-Heal (Prunella vulgaris) from the weedy front corner and LP shifted the Common Spotted orchids (Dactylorhiza fuchsii) from various places around the garden.  This was followed with much messing around under the willow to ensure a bark-covered weed free strip; although the fedge is growing very happily willow hates being surrounded by uninvited invaders.  The edges are held in temporarily until LP is here and has nothing better to do - he's good at fixing larch slab in place very firmly and enjoys doing so. 

I suppose one of the benefits of this job taking so long is that lots of weed seeds germinated.  Yes, that's a 'benefit' because I sat for three hours and painstakingly picked out everything I didn't want to keep and left a few plants which looked promising.  Allowing bare ground to germinate like this is called stale seedbed technique and if done properly can go a long way towards cleaning up soil that's not been previously cultivated.

With all the disturbance completed I sowed a seed mixture which was partly bought-in, partly home-made. Starting with a packet of Sarah Raven 'meadow mix for clay soil' (which, frankly, I have very low expectations of given the rubbish performance of all the other SR seeds I've tried) we have mixed up Cornflower  (Centaurea cynas Polka Dot), annual Poppy (Papaver rhoeas), Pansy (Viola Odorato The Czar) and Orange Hawkit  (Hiercium Brunneocroceum) which was saved from neighbour's lawn last summer.

My logic is that this is the time of year when these plants would naturally be dropping their seed.

Cover all with a not-too-thick layer of bark chip, stand back, open beer, admire!

Footnote: The Sarah Raven mix claims we will get:

Spring into Summer Flowering

Cowslip March – May
Birdsfoot Trefoil May – July
Lady’s Bedstraw Late May – August
Rough Hawksbit May – July
Red Clover May – October
Oxeye Daisy May – July
Yellow Rattle May – July
Meadow Buttercup May – July

Summer into Autumn Flowering

Selfheal June – September
Sorrel June – September
Tufted Vetch June – September
Knapweed June – September
Toadflax July – October
Musk Mallow July – October
Ragged Robin July – September

Yellow Rattle should be sown in autumn, the packet says sow in spring. Cowslip seeds rarely germinate unless sown green. We'll see ........

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