The Old Rectory


Isle of Wight

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An occasional (depending on how busy I am gardening!) comment on beautiful plants or moments as they happen in our garden.

Meadow maintenance

By roses382, Oct 22 2015 07:58PM

The last couple of weeks have seen us working on our two Wildflower Meadows. In autumn last year we sowed a sloping paddock to the east of the house. I'm not sure quite what went wrong, but we ended up with a field of Crested Dog's Tail grass, which was very lovely, but not what we had been hoping for. So two weeks ago we re-sowed with the perennial native wildflower mix that should have germinated, and now we just have to hope that it will be successful this time around. We will have to be patient, although there are a few signs of germination already. Into this area I have also been planting English Bluebells (1000) and also have 1000 Camassias to plant, as and when my aching back will allow! The photo below shows the new meadow preparation, followed by photos of the original meadow taken last summer.

The second important job I have been doing is to sow patches of Yellow Rattle seed into the existing meadow. Last year I experimented, with using the many molehills and rabbit excavations as areas of bare earth into which I could hand sow the seed, which is an important component of a wildflower meadow as it acts as a parasite that weakens the vigorous grasses which would otherwise take over if not managed. The experiment worked well, the yellow rattle was plentiful, and by continuing to add extra seed, it will help to get the balance established until one day hopefully it will become self-sustaining.

And to be honest, the weather was so beautiful on Tuesday, that working on the top of a sunny hill, with far reaching views across Shorwell to Mottistone Down and beyond, was an absolute joy.

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