Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wild flower lawn preparation & a mean bird.....

Hello All,

Isn't it a strange old Autumn that we are having? The weather is just so warm still and October was the warmest on record! I think with the temperature still in the teens November is also set to become a record! Unfortunately I started to wind down my garden in October so don't have very much of interest showing currently, if I had been able to predict this warm weather then I would have made some effort to keep things going longer and probably planted for a bit of extra Autumn colour....

My lack of hindsight has at least given me a bit of a break from the hard graft and allowed me a bit of time to reflect and more importantly plan ahead to next year!

With spring in my mind I have planted 500+ Spring & early Summer flowering bulbs including: Mixed Narcissi (Daffodil), Mixed Alliums, Anemone 'De-caen', Snake Head Fritillary, Tulips, English Bluebells amongst a few other different species. Hopefully come spring I should be able to post pictures of their success!!..

My main project this last couple of weeks has been a complete re-think of my wild flower lawn. This area actually flowered quite well this summer but it was mainly due to the annual wild flowers, which I grew on and planted out as plugs into the lawn. I did lose my fair share to slugs who took an instant liking to my cornflower plugs stripping them within two nights! I am very much against using chemicals and therefore don't use slug pellets in the hope that the wildlife will in time balance out and control them for me to some degree. With both this and the labour involved in mind I have decided to completely strip the area of it's original turf to get rid of the Rye Grass, which is to competitive for many of the delicate wild flower species that I would like to get established here. The long term plan is to establish perennial wild flowers which will grow and seed each year hopefully giving a good variety of colour and longevity to the I grabbed a spade and set to work....

The below pictures show the area which has been de-turfed, I have also taken the opportunity to add extra interest in the form of a 'curved' path, which will weave through the wild flowers on both sides.  

 In all of these pictures the de-turfing isn't completely finished as I wanted to show the depth of turf taken off. Once completed it should give two large areas of wild flower meadow/lawn. 

Once the turf had been completely stripped the remaining topsoil was lightly dug over and raked to provide a nice fine bed of topsoil for sowing the seeds into. Deciding what flowers to plant was actually quite difficult as they need to like the area they're planted in and more importantly thrive in my heavy clay soil, which can get quite damp. After much deliberation and a lot of internet searching I came up with the idea of actually planting wild flowers which are native to Somerset. This seems to make sense and by choosing carefully I can grow plants which would usually grow in this type of situation. Also flowers that are native to this area should help to encourage lots of butterflies and insects which would normally be attracted to and feed on these plants. So with my planting ideas in place I searched for seed suppliers and came up with these two on-line companies who have so far in my experience been really good. Both of these companies had a large selection of seeds at what seemed like a good price and from both of them my order arrived within two days of placing it!

Landlife Wildflowers -

Emorsgate seeds - If you click through on this link and then click into the actual species you are interested in you will see it's county of origin. I used this to research and order the Somerset native species for my wild flower area.

In both cases the seeds arrived within two days, well package with good quality individual packets of each species inside....first impressions are very positive for both of these companies.

Landlife Wilflowers
 Emorsgate Seeds

So as far as gardening goes that is about it, I have rescued tender tropicals such as Cana and Banana plants which have been potted up and put in the greenhouse to overwinter.

Bird life in the garden has been really quiet recently with very few birds visiting the feeders. The extremely mild weather and 'massive' berry crops in the local hedgerows has meant that 'natural' food of the birds is in bountiful supply! This is a great thing for the birds but not quite so good for those of us who enjoy their visits!

One chap who has become a regular visitor to my Koi pond is the Grey Heron below! Fortunately my covers are doing their job and he hasn't been able to catch any fish but I do wonder how long this clever bird will take to find a way around my defences!!?...

A persistent Grey Heron, who despite the covers I made for the Koi pond is visiting regularly.... I wonder how long it will take him to work out how to get around the latest obstacle??... 

So a quiet few weeks but nice in a way and time to get out with the camera and fulfil my other hobby of Nature Photography. If you would like to see more of my pictures then I have now included a link to my Flickr page where many more wildlife and nature pictures are displayed.

Thanks for reading! I hope you are all still enjoying my ramblings? As always please do message me and leave comments or feedback, which I love to read. I will always reply to you and answer your questions if I can!....