We are still really enjoying the longer grass in the garden after taking part in No Mow May, the children seem to want to play outside more, making nests in the grass and picking and weaving grass and flowers. It has given the space a really different feel.
I have a horse in a neighbours field and he recently hurt his leg so needs to be in a restricted area. This has allowed his field to grow long as well and we have been comparing the different species in both areas. The most exciting appearance so far is a beautiful wild orchid that grew in the horse field. Sadly I couldn’t find it when I returned with my camera. The variety of grasses in the field is much wider, it has been unimproved pasture land for decades. Although I put some wild meadow seeds down on bare patches a few years ago to try to stem the ever increasing volume of ryegrass (not good for horses). The lawn at home also hasn’t been “improved” but has a lot less variety as this is the first year it has been allowed to grow but we are hoping to see this change over time.
We are wanting to count the different species in each area over the next few weeks. We have found some good ID resources from Woodland Trust’s Nature’s Calendar and the Wildlife Trusts. There is also a brilliant looking series of grassland sessions being held at the St Andrews Botanic Gardens which I’m keen to attend (advertised on their Facebook page).
We ordered some wild flower plug plants to put into our lawn to help with the biodiversity. Despite a delay in them arriving due to the heavy rain that we had a couple of months ago (the company wanted to ensure the quality was high before they were sent out), I was really impressed with the quality and the way the company packaged them up using sheep’s wool. This started a conversation with my eldest around sheep farming and the wool trade and after exploring for a while we found a few uses for the wool around the garden.
In our food growing space the children are continuing their interest in sowing seeds that will take us through to Winter and providing us with Pak choi, late carrots and a variety of salad leaves. As other annual plants crop and are harvested, we can put some more in for over winter. Any extra space we will show a green manure to protect and nourish the soil. We are all enjoying the harvest so far. It’s my favourite time of year as we can avoid so much plastic by not needing to buy salad leaves. In sowing the later salad leaves I’m hoping this period will be extended much further.
When I asked what they are enjoying most about the garden at the moment, the children both answered “picking flowers”. We had fun making a cardboard butterfly base full of holes that we then threaded flowers and leaves into. Hettie has also decorated lots of birthday cards with pressed flowers this year. We just use heavy books to press the flowers to save having yet more stuff in the house but I remember having a beautiful press when I was younger.
I have been helping a friend bring his garden back into use over the last few months. It was his Gran’s house and he grew up there for some of his childhood. He has recently bought the house but the garden hasn’t been touched for years. Yes it’s a mess in some people’s eyes but you can tell his Gran was a real plant lover and the soil and biodiversity are wonderful. There is so much nature around as there is a wild area over the wall behind the back of the garden also. Recently, a friendly hedgehog has moved in. And when I was uncovering the old veg patch, I made a friend for the day in the form of a lovely robin who was incredibly tame and loved all the snacks I was digging up for it. It has really shown me how much difference can be made from leaving even a small area to nature and has inspired me to continue this in my own garden.