Gardening · General · wildlife

Setting A Little Aside For Others

If you follow any of the Bee people on twitter, facebook or carrier pidgeon you will know that there is a push to bring back meadows and areas for native wildflowers to naturalise. Well… I wanted to do my bit but I had a huge problem. We live in a rented house and our landlord is quite snippy about *ahem*… “unkempt” gardens.

I have had a couple of letters now from them when I tried to allow the grass to grow a little. Having said that I also got one off them even though my garden was looking very nice, thank-you-so-very-much… I wouldn’t mind so much but my neighbours never got them, just me. >.>
*deep breath* Anyway… Moving on…

 

So two weeks ago I had a bright idea… Why not just allow a PATCH of grass to grow and mow all the rest? This way I can get some nice flowers, let the bees and insects have their bit and, if it goes to plan, then I will also NOT get in trouble because while I do have a wild area the rest of the garden is well kept and neat and won’t look too far out of place.

It may well be that our landlord will get upset about it, but they may also understand. We shall see.

The area is only about 15 x 8 ft, so not huge. And while I have left it fairly late for this year I think I could still do some good with having simply longer grass. Next year, if I don’t get a nasty letter, I may scrape off the top and scatter wildflower seed. I don’t want to dig deep because that area has crocuses under there. That was the reason I chose that area. Having Crocus means I have to let that area grow long so the crocus have time to put some energy back into the bulb after the blooms have faded.

Or… If it turns out that simply letting the grass grow is a bad idea I can mow it all down, throw some thick sheeting on it and kill it off that way (No chemicals). This won’t harm the bulbs and I will be able to scatter wildflower seed very early next year.

BTW… If anyone can recommend a good vendor for native UK wildflower seed?

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20 thoughts on “Setting A Little Aside For Others

  1. Try this for your seeds: http://www.thompson-morgan.com/flowers/flower-seeds
    I have several questions on this area of you picked… 1st is why not along the fence line like your other plants? I understand the bulbs are in there – but are they in there on purpose or volunteers? Our Crocus are very hardy and also volunteers – we did not put them there, they just showed up about the 3rd year we were here?? Weird?!? If you want that big patch to be “just” flowers, then yes – I would kill off the grass – HOWEVER, I would do it differently.
    1) Edge that area so it is obvious to all that it is to be a flower spot
    2) Don’t kill the grass off – use it, makes great mulch and feeds the soil…either cover with newspaper and/or cardboard (weedless gardening methods) wet it all down and cover that with a layer of good compost and topsoil mixed. Keep watering the plot and the grass there will biodegrade into the soil. Your crocus will be safe and should pop up again next year. You can throw or plant whatever flowers you want there. I do not know how intense your winters get, but we have several bulb flowers that we do not remove in the fall – they do just fine with a nice layer of chopped straw or leaves on top for the winter.

    1. First off… Thompson and Morgan used to be a very good brand… But of late there have been… issues with their quality of seed and business model. A lot of failing seeds and a lot of dropped orders after advanced purchases… It happened to me and a fair number of people I know while I was at the council. Being among people who garden it was quite an eye opener as to peoples experiences!

      Ok… To the wildflower plot.
      I didn’t push it up against the fence because my neighbour intends to rip it out at some point… He also has a habit of using a weedkiller on his side of the fence… And he is very much a ‘Spray and pray’ kind… I actually have an inch or two gap on my side that is totally dead. >.>

      “Volunteers”??? Not sure I understand. I planted them in myself. Is that what you mean?
      https://kalamain.wordpress.com/2015/09/12/bulb-planting-council-style/

      The method of putting paper down after mowing is exactly what I was thinking of (I’ve already started saving newspapers for just that job!) And I can cover it with the soil used in the potato sacks.

      Not sure how I would make a border to it… I might be able to get some wood, but I was unsure how I would make it bend around a corner (I didn’t want straight edges)…
      Our winters are generally mild. We don’t often go too far below zero. And snow is not that common until later on, mid-January mainly…

  2. Well I like the wildflower idea. My mom has a wildflower garden, now dad does since she died in 12/2014. It also has perennials because she added them every year as the wildflowers seeded themselves. Dad and my sisters weed it from time to time. I hate to weed even my own gardens

    1. I’m pretty much a ‘pick’ weeder in that I will only pull weeds when I see them rather than go out and weed the beds. It often happens when I am planting or watching for wildlife!

  3. About your “Blackbirds”.. They look like our American Robins which do the same thing eating worms after a rain or when we’re digging in our gardens. Our blackbirds are truly black and ugly.

      1. Like I said yours may be called Blackbirds, but they are not really black are they? Nor are they noisy and ugly like ours.

        1. No… The adolescents and females are a kind of dun brown… But the adult males are black.

          But they ARE noisy!!! B-)
          They may be noisy in a ‘nice’ way… But at 4am, when you are trying to sleep they can be a royal pain! LOL!

          Having had a look at some of the US Blackbirds… Some are really pretty… Like this one!
          http://www.chinookobserver.com/storyimage/CO/20120529/ARTICLE/305299981/AR/0/AR-305299981.jpg&MaxW=600

          That flash on the wing… Makes him look like a fighter pilot or something!

          BTW… Googling ‘US Blackbirds’ brings up the SR-71 about 90% of the time! >.<

          1. Yes a red winged blackbird is the best, and my favorite. But you blackbird is almost physically like our robins which are dark gray and red breasted.

              1. Ours are larger then? But they look like twins in silhouette to me.. Our are pretty defensive of their nests.

                1. Oh yes… Blackbirds will fight other blackbirds and the same with Robins… But there is no way on this planet that a Robin could fight off a Blackbird. But then they will happing share a space because they don’t need to fight for food because they eat different things.

                  1. WE don’t see many true blackbirds here, except for the red winged ones, we see noisy crows which are merely a smaller Raven.

                    1. We get Crows and Ravens (Although its been a while since I saw a Raven… We get more Magpies… They are Corvids like Ravens, Crows and Blackbirds but FAR more intelligent and far more vicious!

                    2. Well we get Mockingbirds and the smaller Catbirds that mock other birds. Our crows are pretty smart I’ve heard.

                    3. I tend to think that ALL the corvids are very intelligent… But Magpies are REALLY so.
                      Over here crows will open bags and break bottles to get to things! O.o

  4. Shame about your landlord!!!

    I found the grass still came through after I put cardboard and manure down to get rid of the front lawn. Perhaps deeper would have been better. Anyway, I’m all for what you propose!

    1. It’s WDH (Wakefield District Housing)… And they are a pain at times. >.>
      At least they are consistently inconsistent. B-)
      The happy thing is that even if it doesn’t work it won’t hurt anything.

  5. These are the people I buy from.

    http://www.wildflower.org.uk

    They came recommended on the RHS website but there are a couple of others there too I think.

    You are a bit late for a wildflower meadow this year but could sow in the Autumn (provided you don’t have heavy clay). My understanding is that wildflowers won’t really work alongside grass, as grass tends to be so successful it crowds out the wildflowers. I would remove the patch of grass and the soil underneath – if you want a perennial wildflower patch, you want the soil to be completely useless. However, if you want an annual one, you’ll want it to be quite rich (like farmland).

    I know it’s obvious but wildflowers are weeds, more or less. When they start coming in, your landlord will be rather tight lipped about it. Put a sign up to say Wildflower Patch so it’s obvious it’s intentional.

    Sorry if I’m telling you things you already know.

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