For some time now we have been planning an extension to the flower patch, and as the gluttons for punishment that we are, we have jumped straight into doing it. We don't have much time, not nearly as much as we would like, which means that we could not possibly manage a second cut flower patch on top of the original field, two greenhouses and a poly-tunnel, so we decided to create a productive meadow.
Meadow area next to flower field.
Making a meadow ticks so many boxes for us:
1. It is fantastic for the wild flora and forna. We have fenced it to keep the rabbits out so the array of lovely, naturally occurring, wild flowers have a chance to grow. We know from what has popped up in the flower patch that there is wild carrot, wild scabious, mint, dog rose and much more.
2. It is low maintenance. We will prepare the ground a bit to help the seeds get contact with the soil and we have sown some flowers in plug trays to plant out when they are a bit bigger. After we've planted those and sowed our mix of wild flower seeds then we just sit back and watch it grow. Later in the year we will cut it back and let the seeds fall back onto the ground.
3. It increases the range of crops that we can grow. Simply by freeing some space from the flower patch we can grow a greater variety. It will also supply us with some truly gorgeous meadow flowers.
4. We can have fun in it. There will be a clear area for our families to have picnics. There will be winding paths through the meadow through which the children can race and the adults meander.
5. It has given us a new, bunny free area, and we have purchased many young, locally grown shrubs for planting out this year and cropping in 2 or 3 years time. This is really important as without these we just could not extend our season much. Pittosporum, eucalyptus and hypericum are essential for foliage throughout winter and early spring.
With the current situation being what it is we are also, this year only, going to turn over some of the central grass picnic area to growing vegetables. Michelle is taking the lead on this and will share her progress with you!
In the long term the meadow is likely to turn into something a little less wild and a little more cultivated, similar to a prairie style meadow. However it turns out we are in no doubt that it will be loved by wildlife and us.