Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Meadow Making

I'm currently reading 'Making Wildflower Meadows' by Pam Lewis who owns a wonderful plot in Dorset called Sticky Wicket, I haven't been but have been inspired by some wonderful images of her garden and meadow. http://www.stickywicketgarden.com/

I share many of Pam's views on the importance of preserving our wonderful flora and fauna and with disappearing hedgerows, over ploughed fields, over developed land, the over use of nitrogen high chemical fertilisers to create high yields and EU banishing 'set-a-side' farming policy its not a surprise that our wildflower meadows are few and far.

What's surprising is that herbal content in meadow grass is an important element in the well being of grazing animals, which have been eradicated by the over ploughing and polluting with herbicides and therefore affecting the chain further. Now that's dumb....

There is nothing more delightful than a meadow full of butterflies, bees and hover flies, crimson poppies, nodding ox eye daisies and rattle blowing in the wind.

Greencube have designed and installed 2 meadows for our clients so far:

A small patch in Sevenoaks, Kent on clay soil we stripped back the nutrient high topsoil which we re- used on the formal garden and sowed a mix of:

Birdsfoot Trefoil, Corn Poppy, Cowslip, Lady's Bedstraw, Lesser Knapweed, Ox-Eye daisy, Wild Carrot, White Campion, Yarrow, Yellow Rattle, Sorrel all mixed with the grasses: Browntop bent, Crested Dogstail and Sheeps fescue

It's been a great success and a delight to our clients, who walk through the formal gardens, down the steps and into a contrasting wild meadow surrounding our clients 'Art studio' a great inspirational setting and sanctuary. The first two years have been dominated by Ox eye daisies but we will be entering our third year and so the other perennial wildflowers will  now be established, hopefully offering a more developed, diverse and successful meadow. I will return this June to take some photos.

Our second meadow and orchard has been successfully implemented in our clients garden in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, a much larger plot but similar set up, formal gardens around the house, terraced and large steps leading down to the orchard and meadow, this was only completed last year. A sandy soil with seams of clay we sowed the following mix:

Meadow cranesbill, Birdsfoot trefoil, corn poppy, Meadow buttercup, dark mullein, musk mallow, white campion, yellow rattle, Self heal, sorrel, ribwort plantain all mixed with the grasses: Browntop bent, Crested Dogstail and Sheeps fescue

 and now its time for my own garden to be transformed, we have been working on my own patch for the last year which has included ripping out inherited leylandii and replacing with a manageable prunus rotundifolia hedge,  a lavender field, ornamental grass and perennial garden, a kitchen garden and greenhouse. Our last phase will be the terrace out at the back of the house enclosed by beech hedge and meadow with additional topiary specimens. I'm very excited about this phase of work and my husband will be delighted that he doesn't have to transport tonnes and tonnes of green compost and top soil as I think he's a little worn out with my energetic plans and schemes!

There is nothing better than trialling in your own garden, you learn so much more and understand a plants life cycle on a day to day basis. Our rear garden looks out onto a small holding with occasional horses and alpacas grazing, it would be good to see the seeds floating in the wind and onto their patch beyond, successfully distributing the wonder that is a wildflower meadow.

Keep an eye on our blog, I will post updates on this throughout the spring and summer and I'll return to our clients gardens to take photos.

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